On the heels of their critically-acclaimed 2016 Festival, OperaDelaware is excited to announce the 2017 Festival, a celebration of the 225th anniversary of Rossini's birth. The festival will include La Cenerentola (April 28 & May 6), Rossini's popular setting of Cinderella; his rarely-performed tragedy, Semiramide (April 29 & May 7); and a special performance of Petite messe solennelle (May 5).
Gioachino Rossini's life was bursting with the joy of music. Born in 1792 to two struggling musicians, he started his first opera at age 12. By 20, he had written a half-dozen more (including The Barber of Seville and Cinderella), making him the idol of Italy. He showered his audiences with rollicking rhythms, ebullient melodies—and the crowds sang his music in the streets.
Blessed with a delightful sense of humor and a passion for writing—“Give me a laundry list and I’ll set it to music”—he gained international fame with his comedies. And while old Beethoven warned him “serious opera will go against your nature,” he wrote darker music that was just as enjoyable.
At 38, he was the most popular composer in opera history, with a string of 39 beloved works, overtures that transformed the medium, and a fortune well earned from the royal and the rich.
At 39, he “retired.”
And while critics bemoaned his “silence,” the famous names of the day in literature, art, music, philosophy, politics and business, sang his praises. He held infamous parties in his Paris apartment, and restaurateurs and chefs were friends of the “celebrated gourmand.” Rossini was also a brilliant pianist, hailed by Liszt and Saint Saens. He often entertained guests with selections from his Sins of Old Age—14 volumes of solo piano, voice and chamber ensembles, including a massive Stabat Mater—whose public performance in 1841 “transported the audience... and quickly won all Paris.”
All of which has led us to a 225th birthday celebration Festival as full of unforgettable music—and incredible surprises—as the inimitable Rossini would have lived it.