Thursday, June 2, 2016

Antonio di Matteo in long-awaited premiere of Mercadante's Francesca da Rimini

Antonio Di Matteo
Bass-barihunk Antonio Di Matteo will sing in the first modern staging of Saverio Mercadante's Francesca da Rimini at the 42nd Festival della Valle d'Itria under the guidance of music director Fabio  Luisi. The modern world premiere, directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi,  will be on July 30, 2016 with performances running through August 4. The opera was scheduled to be premiered at the Wexford Festival in 2012, but it was scrapped due to the difficulty of musically reconstructing the piece.

The opera's libretto was written by Felice Romani and was intended to be premiered in Madrid in 1831, but the theater burned down and it's unclear if it was ever performed or if the score was even published.

Antonio di Matteo sings Vecchia Zimarra from Puccini's La bohème:

Other composers have tackled the story of Francesca di Rimini, who was a historical contemporary of Dante Alighieri, who portrayed her as a character in the Divine Comedy. Riccardo Zandonai composed a four act opera that has proven to be a diva vehicle for such great sopranos as Magda Olivero, Renata Scotto and  Eva-Maria Westbroek. Rachmaninov also wrote a shorter version with a libretto by Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky written with a prologue, two tableaux and an epilogue.

In November, Di Matteo can be seen as Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. He then heads to the Bavarian State Opera to sing Alcindoro in Puccini's La bohème with fellow barihunk Michael Nagy as Marcello.

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