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Rossini: Guglielmo Tell
Gioachino Rossini, Fernando Previtali, San Carlo National Theater Symphony Orchestra (Lisbon)
Rossini: Guglielmo Tell
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #3

Rossini had already written dozens of successful operas and was wealthy by the time he decided to retire from the stage in the late 1820s. By now he was living the good life in Paris, and though the Opéra offered him a con...  more »

      
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Rossini had already written dozens of successful operas and was wealthy by the time he decided to retire from the stage in the late 1820s. By now he was living the good life in Paris, and though the Opéra offered him a contract for five operas at unheard-of fees, he turned them down. Like many opera composers who have wished to be remembered for something more serious and substantial than their popular comedies, Rossini determined to write a grand finale to his career on a lofty subject derived from Friedrich Schiller?s dramatic German version of the story Wilhelm Tell (1804). He worked long and meticulously on the opera, which had its premiere August 3, 1829 to a lukewarm Parisian reception that grew slowly more enthusiastic upon repeated hearings. Two years later, Guillaume Tell was first staged in Italy under its Italian title, and for many decades was far more often heard in Italian, with numerous cuts because of its considerable length. Not until the 196! 0s did the original full-length French version begin to be favored again, in consequence of the triumph of the Authenticism Movement in the classical music world. Many of the finest historic recordings, however, are of the streamlined Italian version, as in this exciting live performance from Naples in 1965. This is one of the rare Italian Romantic operas to have a baritone hero, and Gianciacomo Guelfi, a singer with a huge voice, is heroic in the part. Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer, often compared for dramatic power to Maria Callas, has long been a favorite of vocal collectors as she never had a major recording contract so can only be heard in live performances.