(photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)
As a long forgotten comic opera revived by the Royal Opera of Wallonie from Liege and performed at the Israeli Opera, Rossini’s La Gazzetta has some curiosity value.
Its plot is nonsensical, confused and confusing, and its music is not quite on the high level of this composer’s other comic operas, The Barber of Seville and Cenerentolla (Cinderella), but it still provides some mild amusement.
Stefano Mazzonis di Prallafeera’s direction was lively, elegant, well-choreographed and occasionally humorous. Jean Guy Lecat’s sets were mainly conservative, decorated with some would-be modernist pretensions, naively symbolized by on-stage ascending and descending elevators and some anachronistic video-screens.
Noteworthy among the singers were Daniele Zanfardino whose radiant tenor, as Alberto, represented a credible lover. Enrico Maria Marabelli’s dark-timbred baritone created a pompous Pomponio and a veritable comic talent. Rossini’s characteristic tongue-twisters were performed with viruosity. Cinzia Forte’s bright soprano enacted a charming, rebellious Lisetta, although somewhat too mature for her role.
Conducted by Jan Schultsz, the Opera de Wallonie Chorus and Orchestra expertly provided the vocal and instrumental support, emphasizing the comic moments.
When all is said and sung, one wonders whether Rossini had not been rendered a better service by letting this forgotten opera remain forgotten.