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22 December
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22 December
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The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
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23 December
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The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Saturday
23 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Monday
25 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Tuesday
26 December
15 H

Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Tuesday
26 December
20 H

Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Wednesday
27 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Wednesday
27 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Friday
29 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Friday
29 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Saturday
30 December
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Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Saturday
30 December
20 H

Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Sunday
31 December
15 H

Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
Sunday
31 December
20 H (masquerade night)

Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Lloyd Webber
January 2024
Wednesday
24 January
19 H (Gala)

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Haendel
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29 January
20 H

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Ein deutsches Requiem
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23 February
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24 February
20 H

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Rolando Villazón
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25 February
15 H

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March 2024
Saturday
23 March
17 H

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Sunday
24 March
15 H

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La Fille du régiment
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26 March
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28 March
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La Fille du régiment
Donizetti
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30 March
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April 2024
Sunday
07 April
19 H

Staged Concert
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Their Master’s Voice
Malkovich - Bartoli
Rossini Il barbiere
di Siviglia
16, 18, 20 & 22 April 2023 Opera
Conductor Gianluca Capuano
Director Rolando Villazón

Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia

Opera
Sunday 16 April 2023 - 15 h
Tuesday 18 April 2023 - 20 h (Gala)
Thursday 20 April 2023 - 20 h
Saturday 22 April 2023 - 20 h
Opéra de Monte-Carlo

Melodramma buffo in two acts
Music by Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on the comedy The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Premiere: Rome, Teatro Argentina, 20 February 1816

Production of the Salzburg Festival

On 20 February 1816, just as Carnival week was approaching its climax, Gioachino Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia had its (eventful) premiere at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. The new opera was a highly appropriate match for the unfettered atmosphere of the Roman carnival: delighting in masks and disguise, parody and the grotesque, it is permeated through and through with the spirit of carnival. In Rossini’s work everything is energized, sharpened or exaggerated, charged with dramatic vibrancy. And thus the comedy in Rossini’s work is closer to commedia dell’arte than the French play on which it is based.

The meta-theatrical dimension that characterizes Il barbiere di Siviglia is being further expanded in Rolando Villazón’s production –thus opening up new potential for comedy and moments of poetry. An additional protagonist is being introduced, played by the great (and fastest in the world) quick-change performer Arturo Brachetti, a daydreamer who seeks distraction in old movies, especially those starring a particular diva with whom he has become enamoured.

Videos

2 ©Cassette vidéo - OMC
Production team
Conductor | Gianluca Capuano
Director | Rolando Villazón
Costume design | Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Sets | Harald B. Thor
Stefan Bolliger
Video | Rocafilm
Choreography | Ramses Sigl
Choirmaster | Stefano Visconti
Assistant Director | Bettina Geyer
Assistant conductor & répétiteur | Andrea del Bianco
Set design assistant | Thomas Bruner
Arturo Brachetti's assistant for the quick-changes | Mark Johnson Panganiban
Cast
Le Comte Almaviva | Edgardo Rocha
Bartolo | Alessandro Corbelli
Rosina | Cecilia Bartoli
Figaro | Nicola Alaimo
Don Basilio | Ildar Abdrazakov
Berta | Rebeca Olvera
Fiorello | José Coca Loza
Arnoldo | Arturo Brachetti
Ambrogio | Paolo Marchini
Un ufficiale | Przemyslaw Baranek
MONTE CARLO OPERA CHOIR

Les musiciens du Prince – Monaco
Artists' biographies
Artistic and technical teams

LES MAÎTRES D’ŒUVRE

Direction musicale
Gianluca Capuano

Mise en scène
Rolando Villazón

Costumes
Brigitte Reiffenstuel

Décors
Harald B. Thor

Lumières
Stefan Bolliger

Vidéos
Rocafilm

Chorégraphie
Ramses Sigl

Chef de chœur 
Stefano Visconti

Assistante à la mise en scène
Bettina Geyer

Assistant à la direction musical & chef de chant
Andrea del Bianco

Assistant aux décors
Thomas Bruner

Assistant d'Arturo Brachetti pour les changements
Mark Johnson Panganiban

SOLISTES

Le Comte Almaviva
Edgardo Rocha

Bartolo 
Alessandro Corbelli

Rosina 
Cecilia Bartoli

Figaro 
Nicola Alaimo

Don Basilio 
Ildar Abdrazakov

Berta 
Rebeca Olvera

Fiorello 
José Coca Loza

Arnoldo 
Arturo Brachetti

Ambrogio
Paolo Marchini

Un ufficiale
Przemyslaw Baranek

FIGURANTS

Loris Chatel
Schama Imbert
Rossella Antonacci
Rosa Tortora
Chiara Iaia
Bastien Leblanc
Guillaume Gallo Manrique
Morena di Vico
Ludivine Colle Denane
Federica Spatola
Nicolas Leroy
Marialucia Caruso
Paola Scaltriti
Laurence Meini
Artem Ustinov
Arnaud Jouan
Nicolas Vitale

Figurants machinistes
Tom Cressi
Laurent Barcelo
David M’Bappé

CHŒUR DE L’OPÉRA DE MONTE-CARLO

Chef de chœur
Stefano Visconti

Consultant pour l’organisation musicale & assistant chef de chœur
Aurelio Scotto

Régisseuse du chœur & bibliothécaire
Colette Audat

Sopranos I
Galia BAKALOV
Antonella CESARIO
Chiara IAIA
Giovanna MINNITI
Felicity MURPHY
Paola VIARA-VALLE

Sopranos II
Rossella ANTONACCI
Marialucia CARUSO
Valérie MARRET
Letizia PIANIGIANI
Laura Maria ROMO CONTRERAS

Mezzo-sopranos
Teresa BRAMWELL-DAVIES
Géraldine MELAC
Suma MELLANO
Federica SPATOLA

Altos
Maria-Elisabetta DE GIORGI
Catia PIZZI
Janeta SAPOUNDJIEVA
Paola SCALTRITI
Rosa TORTORA

Ténors I
Walter BARBARIA*
Lorenzo CALTAGIRONE*
Domenico CAPPUCCIO*
Vincenzo DI NOCERA*
Thierry DIMEO*
Nicolo LA FARCIOLA*

Ténors II
Gianni COSSU*
Pasquale FERRARO*
Fabio MARZI*
Adolfo SCOTTO DI LUZIO*
Salvatore TAIELLO*

Barytons
Fabio BONAVITA*
Vincenzo CRISTOFOLI*
Daniele DEL BUE*
Luca VIANELLO*

Basses
Andrea ALBERTOLLI*
Przemyslaw BARANEK*
Paolo MARCHINI*
Edgardo RINALDI*
Matthew THISTLETON*

* chorus members participating in the performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia

LES MUSICIENS DU PRINCE – MONACO

Violons I
Thibault Noally (leader)
Reyes Gallardo
Roberto Rutkauskas
Muriel Quistad
Anna Urpina Rius
Agnes Kertész
Andrea Vassalle 
Zhang Zhang

Violons II
Nicolas Mazzoleni (leader)
Svetlana Fomina
Diego Moreno Castelli
Chiara Zanisi
Francesco Colletti
Laura Cavazzuti
Laura Scipioni

Altos
Patricia Gagnon (leader)
Lucie Uzzeni
Emanuele Marcante
Diego Mecca

Violoncelles
Marco Frezzato (leader)
Nicola Brovelli
Guillaume François
Antonio Carlo Papetti

Contrebasses
Roberto Fernández De Larrinoa (leader)
Davide Nava

Flûtes 
Jean-Marc Goujon (leader)
Rebekka Brunner

Hautbois
Pier Luigi Fabretti

Clarinettes
Francesco Spendolini (leader)
Roberta Cristini

Bassons
Hugo Rodriguez Arteaga (leader)
Jeong-guk Lee

Cors d’harmonie
Ulrich Hübner (leader)
Emmanuel Frankenberg

Trompettes
Thibaud Robinne (leader)
Sebastian Schärr

Percussions
Paolo Nocentini
Saverio Rufo
Sebastiano Nidi

Fortepiano
Andrea del Bianco

Guitare
Miguel Rincon Rodriguez

PERSONNEL DE SCENE

Directeur de scène
Xavier Laforge

Régisseur principal
Elisabetta Acella

Régisseur de scène
Karine Ohanyan

Régisseur lumières
Enza d’Auria

Régisseur sur-titrage
Sarah Caussé

Régisseur d'orchestre
Nicolas Payen

Directeur technique
Vincent Payen

Responsable du bureau d’études
Nicola Schmid

Chef machiniste
Carlos Grenier
Olivier Kinoo

Sous-chefs machinistes
Yann Moreau
Franck Satizelle

Peintre décorateur
Gérard Périchon

Techniciens de plateau
Tom Cressi
Laurent Barcelo
Morgan Dubouil
Jean-François Faraut
Jean-Philippe Faraut
Schama Imbert
Frédéric Laugier
David M’Bappé
Khalid Negraoui
Thomas Negrevergne

Chef électricien
Benoît Vigan

Chef électricien adjoint
Dino Bastieri

Techniciens lumière
Nicolas Alcaraz
Grégory Campanella
Thibault Dhennin
Ludovic Druit
Gaël Le Maux
Laurent Renaux

Pupitreurs
Dylan Castori
Grégory Masse

Responsable audio/vidéo
Benjamin Grunler

Technicien vidéo
Felipe Manrique

Chef accessoiriste
Audrey Moravec

Accessoiristes
Roland Biren
Heathcliff Bonnet
Franck Escobar
Emilie Jedwab-Wroclawski

Chef costumière-habilleuse
Eliane Mezzanotte

Chef costumière-habilleuse adjointe
Emilie Bouneau

Sous-chef costumière-habilleuse adjointe
Stéphanie Putegnat

Habilleurs
Magali Bottin
Christian Calviera
Nadine Cimbolini
Edwige Galli
Mélie Gauthier
Julie Jacquet
Karinne Martin
Florence Rinaldino
Lauriane Senet
Véronique Tetu

Chef perruquière-maquilleuse
Déborah Nelson

Chef perruquière-maquilleuse adjointe
Alicia Bovis

Perruquiers
Jean-Pierre Gallina
Corinne Paulé
Marilyn Rieul

Maquilleurs
Sophie Kilian
Francine Richard
Patricia Rochwerg
Natasha Sanna
Nana Janny Telussa

Responsable billetterie
Virginie Hautot

Responsable adjointe billetterie
Jenna Brethenoux

Service billetterie
Ophélie Balasse
Dima Khabout
Stéphanie Laurent

A few words with Rolando Villazón

Rolando Villazón

Some words about Rossini… 

I got to sing Rossini very early, although his operas did not become part of my permanent repertoire. He remains for me, however, one of the greatest composers ever. Like Mozart, he was a master both of tragedy and comedy, like Mozart his music lives because of his sparkling brilliance, and his timing. And timing is crucial for good comedy.

 

How do you go about staging such a well-known work as the Barber?

The big question is always how to translate a piece into a visual language to which we immediately relate today without betraying the essence of the piece: you actually steal something from Rossini while at the same time staying true to Rossini… More than anything else, the staging must be musical! Visually, this production refracts Rossini’s time into our own through the world of black-and-white movies from the early 20th century, which were nostalgic and melancholic on the one hand, and rumbustious like Chaplin and Keaton films on the other. Moreover, thanks to an invented figure who at first observes the characters of the opera, and eventually starts to interact with them, we create a new sub-plot with a second level of comedy.

 

What do you take into consideration when staging an opera, and particularly with artists so knowledgeable in Rossini’s repertoire? 

First of all, I must be far better prepared than anyone else because for me it is new! With such incredibly intelligent, creative and talented colleagues, I simply set out the archetypes of the figures, whereas the singers “steal” them from me to make them their own. In the end, I just need to regulate and say, “yes, this works in our context” or “no, that makes no sense here”. Gianluca Capuano requires a special mention, however! He is a smart and creative collaborator, always present and with valuable input. He will keep the Barber fresh and alive throughout its run, while my job as the producer ends at the dress rehearsal..

 

From your point as a musician who is also an administrator, do you have any tips for Cecilia Bartoli?

(Surprised) I cannot imagine why I should give Cecilia tips…! On the contrary, it is her who has always been a source of inspiration for me. With her talent and rational, as well as emotional intelligence, which is supported by a wonderful instinct, she managed to create a tailor-made career for herself which is absolutely unique. I learn so much from her and am grateful to be a small part of her universe. 

Synopsis

Act I

A square in Seville, at sunrise

A band of musicians, led by Fiorello, are tuning their instruments (no. 1: Introduzione “Piano, pianissimo”). Among them is Count Almaviva, poorly dressed. He is in love with Rosina, the ward of the elderly doctor Bartolo, and wants to court her, but he wishes to be loved for himself and not for his title, which is why he has disguised himself as a poor student. He serenades his beloved beneath her balcony (Cavatina “Ecco, ridente in cielo”). While waiting for Rosina to appear he chases the musicians away as they are too noisy for his liking. He is then interrupted by Figaro, one of his former servants (no. 2: Cavatina “Largo al factotum”). As luck would have it Figaro is now in the service of Bartolo as barber and factotum. He could be of valuable assistance as Rosina is guarded jealously by her tutor who intends to marry her himself. At that moment Rosina appears on her balcony, watched very closely by Bartolo. Nevertheless she manages to throw a message to her suitor asking him for his name and his intentions. The Count’s hopes are quickly dashed when he overhears a conversation between Bartolo and Basilio, Rosina’s music teacher, indicating that Bartolo plans to marry his ward the very next day. He takes up his guitar and begins singing again under her balcony, informing her that his name is Lindoro (no. 3: “Se il mio nome saper voi bramate”). He now has to find a way to approach Rosina. Figaro offers to help him in exchange for payment. He advises the Count to disguise himself as a soldier and to gain entrance to Bartolo’s house where he claims to have been sent is to be quartered (no. 4: Duetto “All’idea di quel metallo”).

A room in Bartolo’s house

Rosina sings of her love for Lindoro and her determination to win his heart despite the anger this will provoke on the part of her tutor (no. 5: Cavatina “Una voce poco fa”). Figaro manages to get into Rosina’s room, but has to hide when Bartolo enters. Bartolo has been chasing him all over the house. Rosina replies brazenly to her tutor’s suspicious questions and then exits the room, leaving behind a very angry Bartolo. Basilio tells Bartolo that he should spread slanderous rumours about the Count (no. 6: Aria “La calunnia è un venticello”). From his hiding place Figaro hears the two friends making plans for the wedding the following day; when they leave the room Rosina returns and the barber (claiming to be Lindoro’s cousin) tells her that Lindoro is in love with her and urges her to reply to his declaration of love (no. 7: Duetto “Dunque io son… tu non m’inganni?”). Bartolo, who is becoming increasingly suspicious, orders Rosina to explain Figaro’s presence in her room. She answers in the same insolent way, but he is not totally convinced by her reply. He admonishes her and warns her that he will be watching her even more closely (no. 8: Aria “A un dottor della mia sorte”).

There is a knock at the door and the servant Berta goes to open it. It is the Count disguised as a soldier and pretending to be drunk. He hands his billeting order to Bartolo, but Bartolo replies that he has been exempted from billeting requisitions. The discussion becomes heated and an officer arrives to restore order. The Count is arrested, but he discreetly reveals his true identity to the officer. To everyone’s stupefaction the Count is released and calmly walks away, just as a storm breaks (no. 9: Finale I “Fredda ed immobile, come una statua”).

 

Act II

A room in Bartolo’s house, with a piano

Almaviva reappears at Bartolo’s house wearing a different disguise. Bartolo is suspicious; he is sure he recognizes the visitor’s face (no. 10: Duettino “Pace e gioia sia con voi”). The Count claims he is Don Alonso, one of Basilio’s students. Basilio is unwell and has sent him as a substitute. Bartolo refuses to allow him entry, so the Count contrives a plan to show him the love letter Rosina sent to him, claiming that it was given to him by one of the Count’s other mistresses out of jealousy. The singing lesson takes place (no. 11: Aria “Contro un cor che accende amor”) and while Bartolo dozes off the young lovers can at last declare their love. Bartolo wakes up and, inspired by the song that Rosina is practising, launches into a nonsensical declaration of love for her (no. 12: Arietta “Quando mi sei vicina”).

Figaro arrives to shave Bartolo, who unsuccessfully tries to chase him away. Bartolo then insists on being shaved in the music room so that he can keep an eye on Rosina. In order to be left alone with the so-called music teacher so that he can air his grievances about his barber, Bartolo hands his keys to Figaro and sends him off to fetch his shaving material from a cupboard. He is convinced that Figaro is arranging secret rendezvous on the Count’s behalf. Figaro seizes the opportunity to remove the key to the balcony from the set of keys Bartolo has given him. Basilio enters, but being completely unaware of the situation he almost gives the game away. Fortunately the fake Alonso manages to get rid of him. While Figaro is at last shaving his master, the lovers arrange to elope that night, but Bartolo overhears their conversation (no. 13: Quintetto “Don Basilio! – Cosa veggo!”). He flies into a rage and sends his servant, Ambrosio, away to fetch Basilio. Berta, who is exasperated by these crazy goings-on in the house, hopes that Rosina will marry the Count so that she can become Bartolo’s wife (no. 14: Aria “Il vecchiotto cerca moglie”).

Basilio confirms that he does not know Alonso. Realizing that he has been duped, Bartolo sends his friend away to fetch the notary as quickly as possible. Showing Rosina the letter that the so-called music teacher had given to him, Bartolo fools her into believing that Lindoro is in league with the Count. Rosina is plunged into despair. Outside a storm breaks (no. 15: Temporale). The Count and Figaro place a ladder under Rosina’s balcony and climb into her room; they are drenched. Rosina accuses her lover of having betrayed her, but he then reveals to her that Lindoro and Almaviva are the same person. The lovers embrace, but Figaro urges them to leave in haste (no. 16: Terzetto “Ah! qual colpo inaspettato”). Alas, the ladder has disappeared. When Basilio and the notary arrive, Figaro and the Count take advantage of Bartolo’s absence (he has gone off to seek the help of the army) to force the notary to marry the couple by threatening him with a gun.

When Bartolo returns the Count reveals his true identity, which leaves Bartolo dumbfounded (no. 17: Recitativo strumentato “Il Conte!… ah, che mai sento!”). The Count is overcome with joy (no. 18: Aria “Cessa di più resistere”) [Editor’s Note: in the present production, this aria is sung by Rosina]. Bartolo confesses that it was he who had removed the ladder from the balcony to make sure that Rosina could not run away before he married her. “A useless precaution”, says Figaro mockingly. Bartolo has no choice but to bless his ward’s marriage to the Count, at the same time rejoicing that the young bridegroom has renounced his wife’s dowry. Everyone celebrates the power of love to do good (no. 9: Finaletto II “Di sì felice innesto”).

An Italian ‘tedeschino’ by Gianluca Capuano

Thoughts on Rossini’s style and on the interpretation of his works

Gioachino Rossini’s opera Almaviva o sia L’inutile precauzione - generally known as Il barbiere di Siviglia - first saw the light of day in 1816, yet anyone listening to it today will instantly forget just how long ago this was. Il barbiere is now Rossini’ most frequently performed work, but its longevity cannot be attributed only to its famous crescendos, its memorable tunes and its lively action. So what is it that makes this opera so exceptional that it is still so frequently performed? Like history in general, the history of music may be compared to a river that for the most part flows underground, only rarely coming to the surface. There are only a few works that litter its course - we refer to them as ‘masterpieces’ - and these have retained a place for themselves in the eyes and ears of posterity. The other side of this coin is that the majority of the works that were written at the same time have fallen into oblivion. […]

I have no idea how many of the 700 or so performances of Il barbiere that are given every year are indebted to the principles of historically informed performance practice, although I fear that the total would be disappointingly low. A great deal has been achieved over the last 50 years in terms of the radical reappraisal of our approach to the works of the past and of the tireless efforts to research and revive the conditions of their original performance, enabling us to remove the thick layers of dust from these works, whether they date from the Baroque or from a later period. Works by Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and even Brahms and Wagner have benefited from this approach. But very little has been done in this regard in terms of the works of Rossini and of bel canto in general. I am thinking, for example, of the performances of Norma that were staged in Salzburg with Cecilia Bartoli, the revivals of which I have conducted since 2016/17. This production marked a milestone in the performance history of bel canto operas. For me, 2022 was a Rossini year with Il turco in ltalia in Monte Carlo, L’italiana in Algeri in Zurich, Il barbiere di Siviglia in Salzburg. Soon after, it was the turn of La Cenerentola and Il turco in ltalia in Vienna. When performed in scholarly editions and with a historically informed awareness, these all offer me valuable opportunities to immerse myself in greater depth in Rossini’s style.

The first step that I take when approaching any work may be described as establishing what I call an interpretative ‘zero level’, by which I mean learning to ignore all the habits that have accrued to its performing tradition and returning to the res ipsa. In turn this means studying the manuscript scores in detail. (Fortunately, the autograph score of Rossini’s Barbiere has survived and is lodged in Bologna.) One has to remember that we musicians are never able to approach a score completely free from bias since the infamous ‘tradition’ that besets these works is an unavoidable, hermeneutic part of our perception of any piece from the past. My aim is not to discard tradition altogether but to filter it through a critical knowledge of the score and to retain only those elements that survive this test. We are fortunate to have at your disposal musical instruments from Rossini’s own time, which means that my second step is to understand which aspects of the score that has come down to us are directly related to the material conditions that existed at the time of the work’s first performance. Certain elements of Rossini’s compositional style become clear only when we take account of the specific properties of the instruments that were available to him. These elements have been routinely and regularly falsified by the subsequent ‘tradition’. Here I am thinking not only of the dynamic markings in the score (the orchestra must at every moment allow the singers to display the full range of their vocal col ours and should never present a wall of sound that is impossible to surmount) or even of the orchestral retouchings that every age has inflicted on the work with a greater or a lesser degree of fanciful interference. No, I am thinking above all of the articulation and phrasing. It is enough to glance at the orchestral parts that are used in repertory theatres today to see the extent to which this music continues to suffer from interpolations, distortions and over-interpretations. If we lose the essential interplay between the text or its linguistic articulation on the one hand and the musical articulation of the vocal line and the orchestra on the other, then we also lose the constituent core of this music.

A further source of inspiration is the original contract that Rossini signed for Il barbiere. Here he agreed - among other things - to do as the impresario asked and make any changes to the score that the singers desired, to lead the first three performances from the harpsichord and to attend all of the rehearsals. This first point is crucial, since it helps us to rid ourselves of the idea that the notes enshrined in a score are somehow sacrosanct and inviolable. This is an idea that continues to be seen as self-evident by many interpreters engaged in performing the works from this period. There is not a single and unique Il barbiere: within weeks of its first performance numerous variants are documented in the form of substitute arias, transpositions and cuts. New singers arrived, and Rossini adapted his score to suit them. In our […] production, for example, we have made use of the knowledge that the Count’s great three-part aria ‘Cessa di più resistere’ also exists in a version for Rosina. We are additionally presenting a personal reading of the second serenade that the Count sings beneath Rosina’s balcony: Manuel Garcia, who sang this role at the first performance, improvised this piece on his guitar, triggering a sarcastic reaction on the part of the first Rosina, Geltrude Righetti-Giorgi, and causing an angry response from the first-night audience in Rome.

The basic task of every interpretation that is based on a critical reading of the sources is arguably that of presenting the music as a living organism. The tendency to set a work of music in stone, effectively reducing it to the status of a museum exhibit, is the result of a late Romantic aesthetic: according to this view, the composer is no longer the skilled craftsman who constantly changes and adapts his creations but a ‘genius’ who creates immortal and inalienable works of art. This attitude leads us in turn to condemn transpositions, interpolations, cuts, cadenzas and variants. The second of the contractual points mentioned above reminds us of the practice of improvisation that was customary at that time. (What would I not give to hear Mozart or Rossini performing their own works!) This is an aspect that has been entirely lost from sight in a performing tradition fixated on a pure ‘reproduction’ of the original work. Suffice it to note that the recitatives in Il barbiere are not in Rossini’s hand; that according to the surviving sources the harpsichordist normally joined in numbers that were accompanied by the orchestra; and that the figured bass is a hymn to musical freedom. We have used all these facts to entrust the harpsichordist with a special role at these performances: audiences will notice this from the very first bars of the opera.

Gianluca Capuano
Translation from the italian: Stewart Spencer
Program for Il barbiere di Siviglia, ©Salzburg Festival 2022