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On 10 August 2022, at the Rossini Opera Festival (ROF) 2022, there was the opening night of a revival of La gazzetta, a work rarely staged and that had been presented for the first and only time in Pesaro in 2015. Then, in a Festival centered on the serious works of the composer, it seemed like a breath of fresh air. I was in the audience both in 2015 and on 10 August 2022. The performance was in the lovely nineteenth century Teatro Rossini in the city center.
Today, the work appears excessively long and rather monotonous, even though it sports a magnificent quintet and some pleasant concertati. Taken from a comedy by Carlo Goldoni, already set to music by Jommelli, Anfossi, Farinelli and Rossi, it narrates the usual, and somewhat trite, story of a father who wants to decide for his children in matters of marriage and is, after various vicissitudes, mocked.
The Goldonian comedy Il matrimonio per concorso is a picture of bourgeois life, perfect for a semi-serious opera. However, in the libretto by Giuseppe Palomba (and also because the work had been commissioned by the Teatro dei Fiorentini in Naples the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies), the character of the father - very dull in Goldoni - is transformed into the 'funny Neapolitan', Don Pomponio Storione, all the more exhilarating since the action takes place in the elegant Paris of the early nineteenth century. (The opera is dated 1816.) The work was a good success but was staged only a few times and, above all only, in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Thus, it had a modest echo in the rest of Italy where music journalism was most important and had most resonance.
That of the ROF 2015 was the first complete staging in Italy - there was one in 2014 in Liège - and this was also thanks to the discovery of the quintet, previously considered lost. The staging - sets by Manuela Gasperoni and costumes by Maria Filippi - is simple and easily transferred to other stages. The direction of Marco Carniti is easy-going. Carlo Rizzi conducts the Rossini Symphony Orchestra with panache. The chorus of the Teatro della Fortuna in Fano was prepared by Mirca Rosciani. The score is full of self-borrowed pieces from other Rossini works and not without some lengthiness.
The cast is very good - especially Carlo Lepore in the role of bass buffo, Don Pomponio. In the women's group, Maria Grazia Schiavo excels in the role of Lisetta and Martiniana Antonie in that of Doralice.
In the male group, a real discovery is the tenor Pietro Adaini in the role of Alberto: a beautiful phrasing, a very clear ring – in short a great potential. Always effective is Giorgio Caoduro.
It is understandable that the Rossini Opera Festival wants to present philological editions. However, for circuitry in other theaters, La gazzetta would benefit a haircut.
Copyright © 14 August 2022