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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 © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ring! Ring! It's Rossini Calling!

Cell phone follies at La Scala recital.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Gioachino Rossini and his little digital friend.
Anybody who goes to classial music concerts or opera performances knows that the modern, digital age has introduced the annoyance of cellular ring tones as unwanted accompaniment to the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini. But on Sunday night, opera star Joyce DiDonato found a new way of coping with the digital menace.

  In an item appearing today on Norman Lebrecht's blog Slipped Disc, the mezzo-soprano's recital at Milan's famed opera house La Scala was interrupted by a ringing cell phone. (A full account of this story appears on the Italian culture site Gramilano.)

The sound of electronic beeps, plinks, buzzes and marimbas has been a major headache for the music industry in recent years, with an increasing number of artists favoring cheap live recordings over expensive studio time. On Sunday night, the offending device sounded during a scene from Rossini's Otello..

According to the Gramilano piece, the phone went off during the Willow Song and "Deh Calma, O Ciel, Nel Sonno", the following  from Act III of the Rossini opera. Ms. DiDonato did not let the interruption hurt her performance.

As she finished and left the stage, the offending party was greeted with cat-calls from the house, and cries of "Vergogna!" ("Shame!") One concert-goer yelling "If you go home to telephone it would be better."

When Ms. DiDonato returned, she commented that it was probably Gioachino Rossini himself calling to find out how the recital had gone. She added: "They say this theater is full of ghosts. Grazie, Gioachino."

Watch the video of Ms. DiDonato's Willow Song below, but turn your ringer off first.

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