A YEAR IN CELEBRATION OF THE GENIUS OF ROSSINI
“It’s hard to write the biography of a man while he is still alive…. I envy him more than someone who has simply been born rich. He, on the other hand won for himself an imperishable name, genius and happiness”. So wrote Stendhal in his famous, although, according to critics, unreliable, “Life of Rossini”, written when the famous composer, who was born in 1792 in Pesaro was just thirty-two years old and at the peak of his career as a composer of operas, a career that would end abruptly, just a few years later in 1829, crowned by his masterpiece William Tell. Gioacchino Rossini was a character worthy of the music he bequeathed to the world: the proverbial “Crescendo Rossiniano”, that suggestive and magnificent orchestral crescendo on a repeated phrase that summarizes the power of his absolute genius which over twenty years produced forty or so works, his erratic output sometimes reaching 4-5 per year. His entire existence unfolds in a double movement, with a precise caesura delineating the outline of each of two separate lives: the first, dedicated to opera, under the banner of a quick and instant triumph. The second, less prolifically creative and more lazy and secluded, but with some memorable peaks such as the Petite Messe Solennelle. He was a hypochondriac, a smoker and very emotional, possibly the victim of depressive crises, but he was also joyful, a lover of good food and beautiful women: his dual nature in continuous oscillation between the frenzied life of a bon-vivant and dark introversion, giving us the picture of a complex individual, fascinating and multifaceted, his own life, set to music, would have resembled the works of art that he gave birth to during his long and glittering career. In 2018, to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the Swan of Pesaro or ‘Cignale di Lugo’ (as he was known) in France, at the villa di Passy near Paris, where the artist had withdrawn following his abandonment of the opera scene, Italy will be certain to celebrate an Italian who, thanks to his immeasurable talent, changed forever the history of music and drama and because of this, is loved and admired throughout Italy and beyond.
Rossini composed his first opera at the age of fourteen and in nineteen years produced thirty-nine significant works, before his sudden abandonment of the theater in 1829.