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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Maestro Rossini!

He's looking pretty good for 53.
by Paul Pelkonen.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Giacchino Rossini, composer of Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

And no, that's not a typo. Rossini was born in 1792, and is one of the most famous leap year babies in history. Like that joke in the Barber where Figaro blunders into the china closet, Rossini never gets old. (Not counting the leaps, he would be 220 today.)

Rossini had an astonishing compositional career, writing 39 operas. His output started with Il cambiale de Matrimonio (performed this winter at Juilliard) and climaxed with the four-act French grand opera Guillaume Tell. But after saving the Swiss from their Austrian oppressors, the great Rossini put down his pen. Singing styles had changed, and the delicate bel canto tenors had given way to the heroic style, and Rossini did not wish to write for those larger, louder voices.

To celebrate, here's the finale from Act I of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, filmed at the Met in the late 1980s. Starring Rockwell Blake, Kathleen Battle, Enzo Dara, Leo Nucci and a young Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Basilio. Ralf Wiekert conducts.

Contact the author: E-mail Superconductor editor Paul Pelkonen

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.