Rossini's success in Italy in the early 1820s was certainly not echoed in France, where he was regarded as "e;an ill-bred parvenu, whose cheap popularity was an insult to a great musical tradition"e;. Stendhal was the first of his contemporaries to recognize the genius of this important Italian composer.Besides being a fascinating and penetrating account of the Italian composer's most creative years, and of contemporary musical events and opinions, this work is one of the finest items in the Stendhalian literary canon. Details of Rossini's early life are followed by penetrating discussions of the operas, libretti, personalities of the period and Rossini's own character.
Unscrupulous, devilishly ambitious and undeniably charismatic, Domenico Barbaja was the most celebrated Italian impresario of the early 1800s and one of the most intriguing characters to dominate the operatic empire of the period. Dubbed the "Viceroy of Naples", Barbaja managed both the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and La Scala in Milan. He was the influential force behind the careers of a plethora of artists including Vincenzo Bellini, Gioachino Rossini and the great mezzo-soprano Isabella Colbran, who became Barbaja's lover before eventually deserting him to marry Rossini. Most vitally, Barbaja's vision had an irrevocable impact on the history of Italian opera; determined to create a lucrative business, he cultivated an energetic environment of new artists producing innovative, exciting opera that people would flock to hear. Philip Eisenbeiss brilliantly pieces together the forgotten story of a tireless tyrant who began life as a barely educated coffee waiter, yet grew to be one of the richest and most potent men in Italy. A natural entrepreneur, Barbaja had the ability to predict a sensation; a skill he exploited his entire life, forging his fortune as a café-owner, arms profiteer, gambling tycoon and eventually, opera magnate. Eisenbeiss unlocks the enigma of this eccentric and fascinating personality that has been hitherto neglected.
This 2004 Companion is a collection of specially commissioned essays on one of the most influential opera composers in the repertoire. The volume is divided into four parts, each exploring an important element of Rossini's life, his world, and his works: biography and reception; words and music; representative operas; and performance. Within these sections accessible chapters, written by a team of specialists, examine Rossini's life and career; the reception of his music in the nineteenth century and today; the librettos and their authors; the dramaturgy of the operas; and Rossini's non-operatic works. Additional chapters centre on key individual operas chosen for their historical importance or position in the present repertoire, and include Tancredi, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Semiramide, and Guillaume Tell. The last section, Performance, focuses on the history of Rossini's operas from the viewpoint of singing and staging, as well as the influence of editorial work on contemporary performance practice.
The fields of performance studies, empirical musicology, and the musicology of recordings have seen a tremendous development in recent years, shedding new light on the recent history of our performing tradition and conveying essential information to music practitioners, critics and audiences. This innovative work considers the notion of bel canto and the manner in which this vibrant tradition lives in the records of Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1940), one of the most celebrated sopranos ever. Tetrazzini, whose discographic career includes about 120 recordings, belongs to that generation of inspirational performers who heralded the dawn of a new era of music appreciation, alongside such iconic figures as Enrico Caruso, Adelina Patti and Nellie Melba. Drawing on a vast body of scholarship and a number of contemporary reviews, Massimo Zicari establishes Tetrazzini’s role in the Italian operatic tradition and its much disputed set of performing conventions. His transcriptions of her recorded interpretations from Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi will prove invaluable to singers and conductors interested in a tradition that goes back to legendary figures such as Jenny Lind and Maria Malibran. The author also discusses her voice quality and technique, tempo flexibility, her use of vibrato and portamento—features of musical performance that question several widely-held, normative views about aesthetics and interpretative tradition. The volume includes eighty-eight musical examples and its closing section consists of the vocal scores of thirteen operatic arias. The musical material (both examples and transcriptions) is entirely original. This unique approach seeks to combine an academic perspective with the making of the music, in the hope that the plea for originality may be enhanced by models from the past.
Giochino Rossini: A Research and Information Guide is designed as a tool for those beginning to study the life and works of Gioachino Rossini as well as for those who wish to explore beyond the established biographies and commentaries. The first edition was published in 2001, and represented a survey of some 878 publications relating to the composer’s life and works. The second edition is revised and updated to include the more than 150 books and articles written in the field of Rossini studies since then. Contents range from sources published in the early decades of the nineteenth century to works currently in progress. General subject areas include Rossini's biography, historical and analytical studies of his operatic and non-operatic compositions, his personal and professional associations, and the reassessment of his role in the development of nineteenth-century music.