Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rossini Festival a veritable Barihunk Festival

Alex Esposito
The internationally-acclaimed Rossini Opera Festival is kicking off on Sunday, August 10th with the vocally challenging Armida. The piece is best known in opera circles for requiring six tenors and two basses, with a trio for three tenors in Act 3. In between booking tenors, they managed to bring in a quartet of barihunks to perform in the Festival.

Alex Esposito sings Rossini's "Cade dal ciglio" from Mosè in Egitto:

On August 11, the Festival features Il barbiere di Siviglia with bass-barihunk Alex Esposito as Basilio, giving fans the chance to hear him showcase the aria La Calunnia about the spreading of vicious gossip. Although we think of Esposito for his definitive portrayals of Mozart's leading men, he has actually sung far more Rossini. He has 13 Rossini roles in 12 operas to his credit, including Alidoro in La cenerentola, Mustafà in L'italiana in Algeri, Selim in Il turco in Italia, Mahomet II in Le siège de Corinthe, Fernando Villabella in La gazza ladra, Moses and the Pharaoh in both versions of Mosè in Egitto, Assur in Semiramide, Orbazzano in Tancredi, Lord Sidney and Don Profondo in Il viaggio a Reims and Polidoro in Zelmira.

Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore
The opera also features Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore as Fiorello, who is new to this site. The 30-year-old singer studied at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan where he made his debut as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro in 2010. He was first invited to the Rossini Festival in 2011 when he sang in Il Viaggio a Reims under Alberto Zedda.

Performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia are on August 11, 14, 17 and 20.

Marko Mimica
On August 13 and 16 the Festival will present Il Viaggio a Reims, with Marko Mimica as Lord Sidney. Opera aficionados will recall that he made waves earlier this year as one of the top five finalists in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He is currently a principle artist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he is singing the High Priest of Baal in Verdi's Nabucco, Pistola in Verdi's Falstaff, and Mr. Bosun in David Alden's production of Britten's Billy Budd.

The Festival will also be performing Aureliano in Palmira on August 12, 15, 18 and 22. Tickets for all performances are available online

Mirco Palazzi
 Mirco Palazzi sings "All'invito generoso" from Rossini's Maometto II:

Another of our favorite singers will be featured in Petite Messe solennelle on August 21, when Mirco Palazzi sings the bass part of the vocal quartet under the baton of Alberto Zedda. He will continue singing Rossini after the Festival, as he heads to Edinburgh on August 26 to sing Gualtiero in William Tell. He'll be joined by soprano Angela Meade as Matilde and John Osborn as Arnold. Tickets are available online.

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