Culture Magazine

Happy Birthday, Maestro Rossini!

By Superconductor @ppelkonen

He's looking pretty good for 53. Happy Birthday, Maestro Rossini! 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.
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 fice-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.

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