Pillole di Passione
di Paola Giunti
Piedmont region, Mercoledì 31 Ottobre 2007 - Giovedì 24 Aprile 2008
In December 1815 Rossini signed a contract with the Teatro Argentina in
Rome for an opera to be performed at the end of the imminent Carnival season. He entrusted the libretto to Cesare Sterbini, who used a literary source that was all the rage and a sure success:
the Barber had already been put to music so many times (six, to be
exact) that the libretto was entitled Almaviva, or the Useless
Precaution to distinguish it from Paisiello’s The Barber of Seville and to avoid irritating its admirers (the present title would be used
only after its revival in Bologna in 1816).
Rossini composed the score with legendary speed, but the first performance was highly contested (especially by Paisiello’s supporters), becoming – together with Traviata and Butterfly – one of the most famous fiascos in the history of opera.
Although it wasn’t one of Rossini’s most popular operas at the time,
The Barber of Seville gradually became widely known, so much so that it
is the oldest Italian opera never to have been withdrawn from the
repertoire. During the course of the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, however, it was trivialized by performances that favoured
the farcical aspects and modified its musical nature.
The production conducted by Vittorio Gui in 1942 at the Teatro Comunale in Florence was the first modern representation to have recourse to original material, in conformity with performance practice, well-established today, that gives full credit to Rossini’s melodic elegance, electrifying rhythm, sparkling instrumentation and freshness of invention.
Compositore: Gioachino Rossini
Librettista: Cesare Sterbini
Prima rappresentazione: 1816 Teatro Argentina, Roma