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date: 12 July 2020

Viaggio a Reims, Il [Il viaggio a Reims, ossia L’albergo del giglio d’oro (‘The Journey to Reims, or The Hotel of the Golden Lily’)]locked

  • Richard Osborne

Extract

[Il viaggio a Reims, ossia L’albergo del giglio d’oro (‘The Journey to Reims, or The Hotel of the Golden Lily’)]

Dramma giocoso in one act by Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Luigi Balocchi derived in part from Mme de Staël’s novel Corinne, ou L’Italie; Paris, Théâtre Italien, 19 June 1825.

Prepared as an entertainment for the coronation of Charles X, this cantata scenica is one of Rossini’s most elaborate and most consistently inspired compositions, though its status as a pièce de circonstance, parts of which he later used in Le comte Ory, makes it an unlikely candidate for a place in the traditional operatic repertory. It is, however, a repository of some of Rossini’s most brilliant vocal writing, while the musical structures take the ensemble writing of the later Neapolitan operas to new levels of length and sophistication, notably the sextet and the ‘Gran pezzo concertato a 14 voci’, which appears in Le comte Ory only in radically slimmed-down form.

The work’s subtitle refers to the hotel at Plombières where the resident staff, marshalled by Madama Cortese (soprano), are preparing their international clientèle for a journey to the coronation at Reims. The principal guest is Corinna (soprano), a celebrated Roman improvising poetess (...

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