Concert with arias with Gioachino Rossini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sunday, 13 December 2015, 7.30 pm
If Rossini was not already one of the most popular composers in Italy, then he certainly became one following the premiere of La pietra del paragone at La Scala in Milan in 1812 which sparked a Rossini craze that soon gripped the entire country. Describing the mood after the premiere of Tancredi in Venice in 1813, the author and first Rossini biographer Stendhal writes: “Even if the emperor and king Napoleon had honoured Venice with a visit, his arrival would have deflected no one’s attention from Rossini. It was pure madness, a genuine “furore”, as it is called in the beautiful Italian language …” With performances of Tancredi and L’italiana in Algeri by an Italian operatic company in Munich and Vienna, Rossini mania spread north of the Alps. The famous aria Di tanti palpiti, noted a disgruntled Viennese critic in 1817, “is heard here on every street corner and from the corner of every room” and neither Beethoven nor Schubert escaped the influence of the general enthusiasm. Whether “the tremendous din that you heard in La Scala” was, as Heinrich Heine believed, really the revolt of the politically subjugated Italy turned into song, or whether the frenzy caused by Rossini’s crescendi was intended to mask this political oppression – what is indisputable is that Rossini’s music had an addictive effect on those who heard it. Vienna, as the first centre of opera north of Italy, played an important role in this: as early as 1817, a parody of Tancredi written by Adolf Bäuerle was performed at the Theater in der Josefstadt, in which the famous Di tanti palpiti was replaced by Die Tant’, die talkerti (Viennese dialect for “the clueless aunt”). And in 1818, Tancredi was given in German for the first time – at the Theater an der Wien where, in 2015, Marie-Nicole Lemieux with the Ensemble Matheus conducted by Jean-Christophe Spinosi will trigger a new Rossinimania! The programme is completed by arias by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.