April 8, 2006

FROM THE DUBIOUS TO THE SUBLIME:

'Tancredi': With WCO's Polish, Neglected Rossini Gem Sparkles (Tim Page, April 4, 2006, Washington Post)

Rossini's operas rank right up there with Bach's cantatas, Handel's oratorios and Haydn's symphonies on the list of vast, magnificent -- and mostly unfamiliar -- repertories by great composers. Everybody knows "The Barber of Seville," in the same way that everybody knows "Messiah" and Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony -- but what about Handel's "Theodora" and "Jephtha," or the several dozen Haydn symphonies that don't have nicknames?

On Sunday night at Lisner Auditorium, Washington Concert Opera permitted us a rare occasion to hear Rossini's "Tancredi," a work dating from the composer's early twenties. The libretto is a dubious hash made from Voltaire's tragedy "Tancrede," which Rossini, with the showbiz instincts that would make him the most popular musician of his era, endowed with a preposterous happy ending. But much of the music is sublime -- brimming over with melody, invention and feeling -- and this "Tancredi" proved the springboard for the best collective singing I've heard since I arrived in Washington more than a decade ago.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 8, 2006 6:15 AM
Comments

Is Tancredi the plural of Tancredo?

Posted by: Kurt Brouwer at April 8, 2006 2:20 PM
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