New life for Rossini operaGossett's revision of La Cenerentola to debut at Met
By Jennifer Vanasco
One of Rossini's most
popular operas, La
Cenerentola (Cinderella), will debut at the Metropolitan Opera Thursday, Oct. 16, thanks in part to the scholarship of Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Renecker Distinguished Service Professor and Dean of the Humanities Division.
Internationally known for his influential scholarship on Italian opera, Gossett completely reviewed the edition of La Cenerentola prepared by Italian conductor Alberto Zedda and revised it based on the criteria of the Rossini critical edition, of which Gossett is general editor. The revised score will be published in 1998 by the Fondazione Rossini of Pesaro, Italy, marking the first time that a full orchestral score of La Cenerentola has been printed. It includes a full set of vocal variations for the final aria, which were discovered in a Rossini manuscript in the collection of the University Library.
Gossett has worked extensively with opera houses throughout the world, including the Teatro alla Scala of Milan and London's Covent Garden. He will be the stylistic advisor to the Met's performance of La Cenerentola and has prepared suggestions for ornamentation for the singers.
La Cenerentola, conducted by James Levine and performed by Cecilia Bartoli/Jennifer Larmore, Ramon Vargas, Alessandro Corbelli/Roberto De Candia, Michele Pertusi and Simone Alaimo, tells the Cinderella story minus the "magical" trappings of fairy godmother and magic coach.
"Yet the work remains magical," Gossett said, "for it continues to be about transformation. In the end, Cinderella's transformation, though unassisted by supernatural agents, is brought about by what is perhaps the greatest magic of all: the magical art of music."
Gossett was awarded the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the Republic of Italy, the Diploma di Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine al Merito, earlier this year. The honor named Gossett as a grand official of the republic for his research in Italian opera. In 1985, the Italian government granted him the Medaglia d'Oro, prima classe, for his services to Italian culture, education and the arts. In 1992, he was inducted into the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna as an honorary member, one of only a select few to be so honored in the past 100 years.
He has been instrumental in the discovery of many compositions, including the score of a lost Rossini opera, Il viaggio a Reims. His Anna Bolena and the Maturity of Gaetano Donizetti (1985) won the Deems Taylor award of ASCAP in 1986. His many other publications include Le sinfonie di Rossini (1981); Early Romantic Opera (1978-1983 with Charles Rosen); a facsimile edition of the autograph manuscript of Il barbiere di Siviglia, with an introduction (1993); and critical editions of Rossini's Tancredi (1984) and Ermione (1995 with Patricia Brauer). He is currently completing a book on the performance of Italian opera.
La Cenerentola premiered in Rome on Jan. 25, 1817. Although it is one of Rossini's most popular works, the opera, like many others of its time, fell out of repertory during the second half of the 19th century. It gained a new public in the early 1970s, when Zedda's edition was performed at La Scala in Milan. It was the first time in this century that the opera had been performed using Rossini's original orchestration and based on his own autograph manuscript.