By Alan Schuster
If one should never judge a book by its cover, the same analogy can often be made about world premieres of operas. One of the best examples was Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago”, based on Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem, which debuted in Naples in 1819. In Stendahl’s masterful biography, “Life of Rossini”, here’s how he described opening night. “There was nothing to restrain the exuberance of 1500 youngbloods and officers whose privilege it was to occupy the front rows when royalty was not present, and who earlier had arrived a little tipsy from celebrating a gala holiday. At the first note which sounded on the trumpets, they began stomping their feet in rhythm to the sound of galloping horses. Soon it was taken up by the rest of the audience until finally the composer collapsed, then left the theatre. Later that night, he took a coach to Milan and it was only two weeks later that he learned that the following performance was a resounding success, enjoyed by the fair-minded and enlightened people of Naples who expressed their sober appreciation by applauding the composer with violent enthusiasm.”
Opera historian Charles Osborne described Rossini’s work as being “a generously tuneful, delicately orchestrated opera with innocent romantic charm.” And from a singer’s viewpoint, the starring ‘lady’ herself, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, mentioned in a recent interview that the score has “some of the most Olympic-type singing you will ever hear.”
Join us at the at the USCB Center For The Arts Saturday, Mar 14th, at 12:55 p.m. for a wonderful afternoon of memorable opera.
All seats are general admission. Adults, $20; OLLI members, $18; Students, $10. Or order online at www.uscbcenterforthearts.com. Box office opens at noon or call 843-521-4145.