• OTF - Il barbiere di Siviglia

    Summer is fast approaching, and along with it comes summer music programming. In my blogs, I usually turn to chamber music (Tuesdays starting July 2nd) and travel (every other week on my Friday podcasts, starting July 5th).

    On OTF this Summer, I plan to program works by our anniversary opera composers for 2013, Verdi and Wagner. Because most of these works are far too serious, I thought I would start my Summer with something, well, lighter. Can’t get any lighter than Bugs Bunny:

    Pierre de Beaumarchais is best remembered for his three so-called Figaro plays: Le Barbier de Séville, Le Mariage de Figaro, and La Mère coupable.

    Today’s OTF selection by Rossini recounts the first of the plays from the Figaro trilogy, while Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro, composed 30 years earlier in 1786, is based on the second part of the Beaumarchais trilogy.

    An opera based on the play had previously been composed by Giovanni Paisiello, another was composed in 1796 by Nicolas Isouard and by Francesco Morlacchi in 1816. Though the work of Paisiello triumphed for a time, Rossini's later version alone has stood the test of time and continues to be a mainstay of operatic repertoire.

    Beaumarchais’ original plot, closely followed by Cesare Sterbini’s libretto, follows a traditional Commedia dell'arte structure, with many characters seemingly based on famous stock characters. The plot involves a Spanish count (Almaviva), who has fallen in love at first sight with a girl called Rosine. To ensure that she really loves him and not just his money, the Count disguises himself as a poor college student named Lindor, and attempts to woo her. His plans are foiled by Rosine's guardian Doctor Bartholo, who keeps her locked up in his house and intends to marry her himself.

    The Count's luck changes, however, after a chance reunion with an ex-servant of his, Figaro, who is currently working as a barber and therefore has access to the Doctor's home. After being promised money, and afraid the Count will seek revenge on him if he refuses, Figaro devises a variety of ways for the Count and Rosine to meet and talk, first as Lindor, then as Alonzo, a fellow student of the same music master, Bazile. The story culminates in the marriage of the Count and Rosine.

    Rossini was well known for being remarkably productive, completing an average of two operas per year for 19 years, and in some years writing as many as four. Musicologists believe that, true to form, the music for Il Barbiere was composed in just under three weeks.

    The Performance

    A few weeks ago, I acquired a re-issue two CD and one CD-ROM of the notable performance of Il Barbiere featuring Maria Callas, and I was pleased to find that same performance available on line in the vast streaming library of MQCD Musique Classique. This is the music souerce for today’s OTF.

    Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792 - 1868)
    Il barbiere di Siviglia, ossia L'inutile precauzione (1816)
    (tlit. Trans. The Barber of Seville, or The Futile Precaution)
    Opera in two Acts, Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini after Le Barbier de Séville by Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

    Maria Callas (Rosina)
    Luigi Alva (Conte di Almaviva)
    Tito Gobbi (Figaro)
    Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus under Alceo Galliera
    (Kingsway Hall, London, 1957)

    Opera URL - http://www.mqcd-musique-classique.co...ead.php?t=5275
    Synopsis – http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...spx?customid=6
    Libretto – http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/barbiere.html

    June 21 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "My Wedding Anniversary" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more June 21 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: OTF - Il barbiere di Siviglia started by itywltmt View original post

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