Monday, 11 October 2010


Over the weekend, I re-discovered my collection of Rossini tapes. I know that audio tapes are now a bit archaic, what with MP3 players and phone downloads etc. but I dug out my trusty Walkman and have really enjoyed becoming re-acquainted with Rossini. He writes beautiful melodies and amazing arias that require tremendous technical ability as well as flair and musicality from the singer.
I have a few tapes and CDs of Cecilia Bartoli who is well known for her Rossini interpretations and I love listening to her beautiful voice. (In the past, I have found watching her perform a little off-putting as during the aria, she pulled some rather interesting faces that distracted me from the music, but there is no doubting her talent.) So, just listening to her is much better for me.
My favourite Rossini opera is definitely 'La Cenerentola' (Cinderella). I saw it when I was eighteen and it made a huge impact on me. It helped that it had a familiar story and characters, although there is a Fairy Godfather, the ugly sisters have a bad father rather than mother, and the glass slipper is replaced by a pair of bracelets (apparently because the opera-goers and officials of the time would have been distressed by the sight of an unshod female foot!) It also has some gorgeous arias and a wonderful, complicated piece for seven singers which calls for precision as it has tongue-twisting words throughout. Cenerentola's final aria 'Non piu mesta' is a real showstopper, which starts simply and then repeats with more variations, becoming a total coloratura tour de force. I love it! This is a link to a film version of Cenerentola with Frederica von Stade in the main role. I love this film too!

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