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Il viaggio a Reims, ossia L'albergo del giglio d'oro (The Journey to Reims, or The Hotel of the Golden Fleur-de-lis) is an operatic dramma giocoso in one act by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Balocchi, based in part on Corinne, ou L'Italie by Mme de Staël.

Rossini's last opera in the Italian language (all of his later works were in French), premiered under the title Le voyage à Reims, ou l'Hôtel du Lys-d'Or. Commissioned to celebrate the coronation of French King Charles X in Rheims in 1825, the work has been critically acclaimed as one of Rossini's finest compositions. It is a demanding work, requiring 14 soloists (three sopranos, one contralto, two tenors, four baritones, and four basses). At its premiere, it was sung by the greatest voices of the day.

Since the opera was written for a specific occasion, with a plot about European aristocrats, officers - and one poetess - en route to join in the French coronation festivities that the opera itself was composed for, Rossini never intended for the opera to have a life beyond a few performances in Paris. The composer later re-used about half of the music in Le comte Ory.

The overture is typical of Rossini's grander music, crafted for a heavy but precise, high spirited performance. It appears later as ballet in Le siège de Corinthe (1826), and though it was not played at the 1825 premiere of Il viaggio, has since never faded from the concert stage. It is frequently recorded and heard often today, though it is sometimes omitted from newer recordings of the opera.

Contents

Performance history

Il viaggio a Reims was first performed at the Théâtre Italien, Paris, on June 19, 1825 with Giuditta Pasta as Corinna.There were only four original performances. The different parts of the manuscript, assumed lost, were re-found and re-assembled in the 1970s by the musicologist Janet Johnson, with the help of Philip Gosset.

The first performance after the reconstruction was given at the Rossini Opera Festival on August 18, 1984. It was conducted by Claudio Abbado and directed by Luca Ronconi. The cast included Francisco Araiza, Lella Cuberli, Enzo Dara, Cecilia Gasdia, Eduardo Gimenez, William Matteuzzi, Leo Nucci, Ruggero Raimondi, Samuel Ramey, Katia Ricciarelli, Lucia Valentini Terrani.

Other performances have followed. The American premiere was given on June 14, 1986 by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis at the Loretto-Hilton Theater in St. Louis, Missouri, directed by Colin Graham and conducted by Richard Buckley. In Helsinki, on January 9, 2003, the opera was directed by Dario Fo and conducted by Pietro Rizzo. In November 2005 there was another production in Monte Carlo, with a cast including June Anderson, Raùl Gimenez, Rockwell Blake, and Ruggero Raimondi. The Wiener Staatsoper produced the opera in its Rossini Festival conducted by Claudio Abbado, with Monserrat Caballé and again Ruggero Raimondi. The Kirov Opera performed it at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in January 2007. The work was produced in Tel Aviv by the Israel Opera in November 2007.

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, June 19, 1825
(Conductor: Gioacchino Rossini)
Madame Cortese, Tyrolean hostess of the spa
hotel
soprano Ester Mombelli
Contessa di Folleville, a fashionable
young widow
soprano Laure Cinti-Damoreau
Corinna, a famous Roman poetess soprano Giuditta Pasta
Marchesa Melibea, the Polish widow of an Italian
general killed on their wedding night
mezzo-soprano Adelaide Schiassetti
Conte di Libenskof, Russian general in
love with Marchesa Melibea
tenor Marco Bordogni
Belfiore, handsome young French officer
and spare-time painter
tenor Domenico Donzelli
Lord Sidney, English colonel secretly in love
with Corinna
bass Carlo Zucchelli
Don Alvaro, Spanish admiral in love with
Marchesa Melibea
bass Nicolas Levasseur
Barone di Trombonok, German major
and music lover
bass Vincenzo Graziani
Don Profondo, scholar and lover of antiquities,
friend of Corinna
bass Felice Pellegrini
Don Prudenzio, doctor at the spa bass Luigi Profeti
Modestina, the Contessa di Folleville's chamber maid mezzo-soprano Marietta Dotti
Don Luigino, cousin of the Contessa di Folleville baritone Piero Scudo
Maddalena, hotel housekeeper from Normandy mezzo-soprano Caterina Rossi
Antonio, maître d'hotel baritone Auletta
Zefirino, courier tenor Giovanola
Gelsomino, valet tenor Trévaux
Delia, young Greek girl who is Corinna's travelling
companion
soprano Maria Amigo
Four strolling players, chorus of countrymen and women, gardeners, hotel staff, dancers, servants

Recordings

  • Video recording from the Liceu, Barcelona, made in 2003 conducted by Jesús López-Cobos and directed by Sergi Belbel. The singers were Elena de la Merced, Maria Bayo, Kenneth Tarver, Nicola Ulivieri, etc. (DVD released: TDK DVUSOPVAR). A DVD of the Kirov Opera's performance under Valery Gergiev at the Théâtre Châtelet in Paris is also available (Opus Arte, Catalogue # OA 0967 D).

[1]

Notes

References

  • Osborne, Richard: "Viaggio a Reims, Il" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Stanley Sadie (Ed.). (London: MacMillan, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7

External links

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