Like his contemporaries, Gioacchino Rossini seemed to enjoy exoticism and travel, since after ‘taking’ an Italian girl to Algiers in 1813 at the request of Venice, he ‘invited’ a Turk to Italy in an opera buffa composed the following year for the Teatro alla Scala! But unlike his first Venetian successes (apart from L’italiana in Algeri: Il signor Bruschino, La scala di seta and above all Tancredi), it garnered scant applause. It was not until almost a century later that Italy took an interest in the work again, after the last performances in 1855: during a memorable reunion 1950 reuninon in Rome, marked by the presence of a certain… Maria Callas as Fiorilla. No matter! The work, which like Mozart’s Cosìfan tutte (performed shortly before the premiere on the same Milanese stage) “dances on a volcano” – both literally and figuratively, as librettist Felice Romani set the story near Naples, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius – is now appreciated at its true value: as one of the nuggets of the “new” buffa style, paving the way for masterpieces such as Il barbiere di Siviglia; just as Tancredi, freed from the lengthy recitatives of the seria tradition, heralded Cenerentola and Semiramide.
First performance on 14 August 1814 at La Scala in Milan.
G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen – und Musikverlag GmbH Publishers, Berlin – revision by Margaret Bent
Originally from Galicia, Luis Cansino began his musical training in Vigo. He studied voice at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid, where he received an honorary prize and the “Lucrecia Arana” special prize before completing his training with tenor Pedro Lavirgen. In 1990 he won the first edition of the “Francisco Alonso” song competition held in Madrid. In 1993, he was named breakthrough opera singer of the year by the Mexican magazine Proceso and appointed cultural ambassador for peace in Chiapas. He made his stage debut in 1987 with the Anthology Tribute to Maestro Alonso at the Fernán Gómez Theatre in Madrid. Since then, he has collaborated with the greatest conductors (Marco Armiliato, James Conlon, Evelino Pidò, Vassily Petrenko…) and the best directors. (Laurent Pelly, Robert Carsen, Emilio Sagi, Giancarlo del Monaco…). During his career, he has been particularly noted for his performances in Don Giovanni, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roberto Devereux, Il trovatore, Otello, Faust, Pagliacci, Cavalleria rusticana, Turandot, La bohème and El gato montés. A regular performer in major opera seasons around the world, he has recently enjoyed great success in such works as La Fille du régiment, L’elisir d’amore, Viva la mamma!, La traviata, Les Vêpres siciliennes, La forza del destino, Aida, La Gioconda, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Wally, Adriana Lecouvreur, Marina and La Maison de Bernarda Alba, as well as taking the leading roles in Macbeth, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra and Falstaff. As the first baritone in José Tamayo’s Anthology of Zarzuela, he is a renowned performer in the genre, with almost 40 titles to his credit. His world-first recordings include Carreño’s Salmo, Muhammad’s The March of Victory, Ruíz’s Cantata Asturiana and several works by Mexican composer Álvarez del Toro. He has participated in the revivals of Handel’s Ezio, Stravinsky’s Renard, Albéniz’s The Magic Opal, as well as the world premiere of the Fuenteovejuna Opera by Muniz.
Born in Georgia in 1986, Salome Jicia began by playing the piano before turning to singing, which she studied in her native country and then at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. Winner of numerous prizes, she can be seen in productions all over Europe: she has played Aspasia (Mitridate re di Ponto) in Tbilisi and Budapest; Rosina (La finta semplice) in an AsLiCo production in Como, Cremona and Pavia; the Contessa di Foleville (Il viaggio a Reims) in Pesaro, where she also appeared in La donna del lago; as well as performing in Semiramide at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, at the Alejandro Granda Opera Festival in Lima, Peru, and in Kutaisi, Georgia, where she shared the stage with José Carreras. Her future projects include Don Giovanni in Liège and Così fan tutte at Covent Garden. She will soon take part in productions of Guillaume Tell in Munich, Maria Stuarda in Zurich and Otello in Liège.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: La Clemenza di Tito (2018) and Norma (2021).
Born in 1993, Michele Spotti is the musical director of the Opéra de Marseille and its Philharmonic Orchestra. He graduated in violin and conducting (in Daniele Agiman’s class) at the “Guiseppe Verdi” Conservatoire in Milan. He continued his training at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva, at the Gstaad Conducting Academy (with Neeme Järvi and Gennadi Rojdestvenski) and in Italy with Gianandrea Noseda, Gianluigi Gelmetti and Daniele Gatti. At the age of 20, he made his debut at the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto, performing in Le nozze di Figaro, and in 2016 was called by Alberto Zedda to assist him in a production of Rossini’s Ermione at the Opéra de Lyon. Recent engagements include debuts with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Juan Diego Flórez, new productions of Don Carlos and Rigoletto at Theater Basel, Guillaume Tell and Rigoletto at the Donizetti Opera Festival, La Cenerentola at the Bayerische Staatsoper (in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s historic staging), La Belle Hélène at the Komische Oper Berlin (Barrie Kosky production), La traviata in Palermo with Pretty Yende, Offenbach’s Bluebeard at the Opéra de Lyon (directed by Laurent Pelly), the world premiere of Andrew Synnott’s La cucina at the Wexford Opera Festival, Don Pasquale in Montpellier and at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, as well as his first appearance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. His 2022/23 season features several debuts: at the Stuttgart Staatsoper in a new production of L’elisir d’amore by Anika Rutkofsky, at the Wiener Staatsoper with La Fille du régiment directed by Laurent Pelly and at Valencia’s Palau de Les Arts in a new production of Ernani.
Born in Oviedo, Spain, Emilio Sagi holds a doctorate in philosophy and humanities from the university of his native city. He also studied musicology at the University of London. As a director, he made his debut in Oviedo in 1980 with La traviata. Ten years later he was appointed director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, a position he held until December 1999. He made his directorial debut in 1982 with Don Pasquale, followed by more than 20 opera and zarzuela productions. He was artistic director of the Teatro Real in Madrid from June 2001 to August 2005 and of the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao from January 2008 to December 2015. His stage experience ranges from baroque zarzuela to contemporary opera, which he has performed in some of the world’s greatest theatres and festivals: La Scala in Milan, Châtelet, opera houses in Rome, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Nice, Monte Carlo, Teatro Colón in Madrid, Buenos Aires, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Liceu in Barcelona, Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg, Volksoper and Theater an der Wien, Salzburg Festival, Rossini Festival Pesaro, Savolinna Festival… In June 2006, he received the Lírico Teatro Campoamor award for the best direction for his production of Il barbiere di Siviglia given in January 2005 at the Teatro Real, in May 2010 the award for the best Spanish artist from the magazine Ópera Actual, as well as the Argentinian music critic’s award for the best show of the year 2012 for his direction of Mercadante’s I due Figaro at Teatro Colón. In December 2020, the Spanish government awarded him the Gold Medal for Fine Arts. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Giulio Cesare in Egitto (2008), Le Chat botté (2009), L’italiana in Algeri (2010), Tancredi (2015), Les mamelles de Tirésias (2016) and Le Chanteur de Mexico (2017).
Born in Riva del Garda, Italy, Giulio Mastrototaro trained with Vito Brunetti at the Claudio Monteverdi Conservatory in Bolzano, from which he graduated with honours in 2002. Revealed at the AsLiCo competition and by his performance in Donizetti’s Pietro il Grande at the Martina Franca Festival (immortalised by Dynamic), he has since performed on the most important stages: La Scala in Milan, Opera House in Rome, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro del Maggio in Florence, Teatro Communale in Bologna, La Monnaie in Brussels, Theater an der Wien, Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Salzburg Festival, Bregenzer Festspiele… Under the baton of conductors such as Rinaldo Alessandrini, Giovanni Antonini, Riccardo Chailly, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Riccardo Muti, Vladimir Jurowski and Alberto Zedda, he embraces a vast repertoire ranging from Paisiello and Mozart to Puccini and Giordano. After he opened the 2019/20 season in Tosca, La Scala audiences recently heard him in Il turco in Italia, L’italiana in Algeri and L’elisir d’amore; he will soon appear in Giordano’s Andrea Chénier conducted by Marco Armilliato. His plans for 2023 include Il Turco in Italia in Martina Franca, Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Tokyo and Les Nozze di Figaro at the Teatro Filharmonico.
Argentinian tenor Francisco Brito made his debut in Pesaro under the baton of Alberto Zedda and established himself first and foremost in the Rossini repertoire. He performed in L’italiana in Algeri in Piacenza, Modena, Trieste, Venice, Verona and Madrid, ll viaggio a Reims in Zurich, Muscat and Pesaro, Zelmira, Il signor Bruschino and La donna del lago in Pesaro and Venice, Il barbiere di Siviglia in Wiesbaden, Erl, Venice, Palma de Mallorca and Verona, La scala di seta in Mannheim and Venice, La gazza ladra in Frankfurt and Bari, La Cenerentola in Dresden, Palermo, Bonn and Frankfurt, Otello in Naples, Matilde di Shabran at the Rossini Festival in Wildbad, Le Comte Ory in Toulon. He completed his repertoire with Don Pasquale in Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Moscow, Falstaff in Frankfurt, Ariodante in Dublin, I puritani in Stuttgart, Così fan tutte in Dubai, Carmina Burana in Bari, La Juive in Constance, Il castello di Kenilworth and Pietro il Grande at the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Semiramide (2022).
Born in Russia, Mikhail Timoshenko began his musical and theatrical training in Mednogorsk, before going to perfect his skills at the Franz Liszt Hochschule in Weimar and the Hanns Eisler Hochschule in Berlin under the direction of Michail Lanskoi. From 2015 to 2017, he was a member of the Académie de l’Opéra de Paris. In 2017, he won the Maria Callas International Grand Prix in Athens. In 2018, as part of a duet with the pianist Elitsa Desseva, he won First Prize at the International Chamber Music Competition “Franz Schubert and Modern Music” in Graz, as well as First Prize at the Hugo Wolf Academy’s International Art Song Competition Stuttgart. He was also awarded First Prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London. Highlights of his first seasons include the world premiere of Alexandre Desplat’s chamber opera En Silence in Luxembourg and Paris (Bouffes du Nord), Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Opéra de Paris and in Düsseldorf, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro at the Opéra national de Lorraine, Ottokar in Freischütz at the Berlin Konzerthaus, Mozart’s Mass in C at the Salzburg Festival, Albert (Werther) in Tours, Marcello (La bohème) in Toulouse, Papageno (Die Zauber- flöte) in Montpellier, Frank Martin’s Golgotha in Linz. His projects include Leporello (Don Giovanni) at the Glyndebourne Festival, Shchelkalov (Boris Godunov) in Toulouse and at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Marcello at Covent Garden and Gounod’s Le Tribut de Zamora in Saint-Etienne. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Werther (2022).
The Opéra de Lausanne Choir is young, made up of students of singing from Lausanne’s University of Music and the Geneva HEM, and professional singers. Its members are selected by audition and periodically reheard. For each opera, they are distributed depending on their voice and/or aptitudes. Thanks mainly to their talent on stage, supported by an infectious enthusiasm, they are highly appreciated by all the theatre directors invited. For a few years the choir has benefitted from preparation by several experienced choir masters from different backgrounds, chosen depending on the works being sung and their specific interest.
Antonio Greco studied choral singing, piano, composition and choral and orchestral direction in Italy. Founder of the Costanzo Porta Choir, winner of several international competitions, he went on to found the Costanzo Porta School of music and choral singing a few years later. He was invited by Diego Fasolis to work with the Radio Suisse Choir. For the Festival della Valle d’Itria, he directed the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia, the OIDI Festival Baroque Ensemble, the Orchestra della Magna Grecia and the Slovak Choir of Bratislava in Italian baroque works like Il novello Giasone by Cavalli and Stradella, La lotta d’Ercole con Acheloo by Agostino Steffani, for a live radio broadcast, and more recently, L’incoronazione di Poppea.
From 2006 to 2015, he directed the Circuito Lirio Lombardo choir.
Current projects: a world tour of Monteverdi’s trilogy as a harpsichordist with the English Baroque Soloisits and the Monteverdi Choir, at the request of John Eliot Gardiner who he was an assistant for in 2015 and 2016.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Tancredi (2015), L’Orfeo (2016), La Sonnambula (2018).
Trained at the “Ernesto de la Cárcova” Higher School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, Daniel Bianco moved to Spain in 1984, where he combined his work as a stage designer with technical and production management tasks at the National Drama Centre, the National Classical Theatre Company and the Teatro Real. In 2008 he was appointed Deputy Artistic Director of Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao and since 2015 he has been Director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela. As a set designer, his extensive activity has led him to participate in numerous opera, zarzuela, ballet and prose theatre productions staged in theatres and festivals in Spain, Europe and America. He enjoys close collaboration with director Emilio Sagi, which began with Le Chanteur de Mexico at the Théâtre du Châtelet and La generala at the same venue – where they also gave the first performance of The Sound of Music – and at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. They presented Il pirata at La Scala in Milan, Carmen at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Rome Opera House and the Santiago Opera in Chile, Wagner’s Die Feen in Paris, I puritani and Linda di Chamounix at the Liceu in Barcelona, and Mercadante’s I due Figaro at the Ravenna Festival, the Whitsun Festival in Salzburg and the Teatro Real. Daniel Bianco also designed the sets for Le Nozze di Figaro, Il viaggio a Reims, Il mondo della luna, Tancredi and Attila for the Monte-Carlo Opera. Since his arrival at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, his dedication and commitment have been focused on the recovery, preservation, revision and dissemination of heritage Spanish opera, notably zarzuela. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Tosca (2013), Tancredi (2015), and Le Chanteur de Mexico (2017).