Beethoven once said to Rossini before advising him not to attempt anything more serious the The Barber of Seville. Nevertheless, Rossini did return to composing opera seria. Ten years after Tancredi, he composed Semiramide. Taking up the legendary figure of the queen of Babylon, the composer weaves a breathtaking, tragic melodrama, which has become an exemplar of the bel canto. Semiramide is often considered a pivotal work in Rossini’s career and, as it was written before his departure for Paris, where he would remain until he died, it is also a kind of farewell to Italy.
First performance at La Fenice in Venice, February 3, 1823
Musical director at the Opera of Philadelphia and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, Corrado Rovaris is also principal conductor of the chamber orchestra I Virtuosi Italiani. In 2018-2019 he opened the season at the Opera of Philadelphia with a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor directed by Laurent Pelly, followed by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and La Bohème. He conducted the world premiere of Glass Handel (with music by Handel and Philip Glass). Involved in promoting new musical works, Corrado Rovaris recently conducted the world premieres of Elizabeth Cree by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, and Written on Skin by George Benjamin at the Opera of Philadelphia. During the 2018-2019 season he also conducted La clemenza di Tito with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and at the Opera of Oviedo. He is a Knight of the Order of Merit of Italy and in 2016 won the Franco Abbiati prize.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Rigoletto (2000), Luisa Miller (2001), La Bohème (2003), Il Signor Bruschino and Gianni Schicchi (2004), Otello (2010), and La Traviata (2015).
Born in Naples, Maria Grazia Schiavo has performed under the direction of conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Nello Santi, Roberto Abbado, Stefano Ranzani, Bruno Campanella, Jordi Bernacer, and Jader Bignamini. She is regularly invited to sing in the most famous opera houses in Europe where she performs the leading Mozart roles as well as the bel canto and romantic repertoires, including: Violetta in La Traviata; Gilda in Rigoletto; the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor; Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore; the Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims; Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni; and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
Born in Switzerland to musician parents, Marina Viotti began her musical apprenticeship studying the flute and went on to experiment with jazz, gospel, and heavy metal. She obtained a master’s degree in Philosophy and Literature and began her vocal training with Heidi Brunner in Vienna, and with Brigitte Balleys at the HEMU in Lausanne. She is currently working with Raul Gimenez. She made her debut at the Théâtre de Lucerne and the Grand Théâtre de Genève, where she performed the role of Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri at the Rossini Festival in Bad Wildbad in 2015. At the Opéra de Lausanne she was notably heard in Amahl and the Evening Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti (2017). She recently performed Maddalena in Rigoletto at the Bayerische Staatstheater in Munich, Stephano in Romeo and Juliet at the Teatro alla Scala, Rosina in The Barber of Seville at the Semperoper Dresden, Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Melibea in Il viaggio a Reims in Valence. She is due to perform in L’Italiana in Algeri (Rossini) at the Teatro alla Scala, and in Der Rosenkavalier at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, conducted by Zubin Mehta.
The Italian bass Mirco Palazzi made his debut in 2001 performing in Don Giovanni in major theatres around the world. The excellence of his voice and engaging musicality are widely acclaimed and he is considered one of the best performers in opera. In 2019, his portrayal of the role of Assur in Rossini’s Semiramide, directed by Sir Mark Elder, received unanimous praise from the international specialised press. He has performed in prestigious venues, including La Scala, Liceu, Washington Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma, Opera di Roma, Kölner Philharmonie, Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Barbican Center, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, to name but a few. He has worked with conductors such as Roberto Abbado, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Diego Fasolis, Valery Gergiev, and Christopher Hogwood. Recent engagements include the role of Assur in Semiramide under the direction of Antonio Pappano at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Rosmonda d’Inghilterra, La Cenerentola and Semiramide at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the role of Talbot in Maria Stuarda at the Opéra de Marseille.
The Argentine tenor made his debut in Pesaro under the baton of Alberto Zedda, where he asserted himself mostly as a Rossinian singer performing in L’Italiana in Algeri, ll Viaggio a Reims, Il Signor Bruschino, The Lady of the Lake, The Barber of Seville, The Thieving Magpie, La Cenerentola, Otello, Matilde di Shabran, Le Comte Ory in Venice, Verona, Palermo, Madrid, Frankfurt, Dresden, Bad Wildbad, Erl, and Toulon, but also in Don Pasquale and Falstaff in Frankfurt, I Puritani in Stuttgart, Così fan Tutte in Dubai, La Juive in Constance, Il Castello di Kenilworth and Pietro il Grande at the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo.
Born in Lausanne, Raphaël Hardmeyer obtained a master’s degree in law before studying singing in Geneva with Gilles Cachemaille and Alexander Mayr. He was a finalist in the Geneva Lied Mahler competition. On stage, he performs the roles of Charles V (Ascanio de Saint-Saëns) in Geneva, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Masetto and the Commander (Don Giovanni) and Herr Fluth (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor) in Hamburg. Current works include a contemporary creation as part of Opéralab, a collaboration between the Grand Théâtre and the HEM in Geneva.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Lakai in Ariadne auf Naxos (2019)
Jean Miannay, French tenor, studied singing at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne with Brigitte Balleys and at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Scot Weir. Winner of several competitions and foundations (Grand Prix of the 4th Raymond Duffaut Competition, 26th Clermont-Ferrand International Singing Competition, Colette Mosetti Foundation Scholarship in Lausanne, 3rd Prize of the Kattenburg Competition, Gold Medal of the 2nd Vienna International Competition in the Virtuoso category), he took his first roles at the Opéra de Lausanne. In 2020, he played Beppe in I Pagliacci at the Opéra du Grand Avignon and performed in “La Nuit magique” at the Chorégies d’Orange, a recital recorded by France 5. He will return to the Chorégies in the summer of 2021 for an “emerging scene” recital, before donning Beppe’s costume again at the Festival de Saint Céré and performing in Mézières in Honegger’s Le Roi David. He can also be heard as Napoleon in Pierre Thilloy’s creation Napoléon, ou l’Amour nu at the Ventoux Opera Festival, as well as Ferrando on the stages of Lausanne and Fribourg in September 2021 with the HEMU of Lausanne.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot (2018), Les chevaliers de la Table ronde (Route Lyrique 2019) and Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019).
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).