Four operas including a modern world premiere for the 32nd Belcanto Opera Festival ROSSINI IN WILDBAD

A Rossini festival in the Black Forest, is this possible? It is now more than 30 years that ROSSINI IN WILDBAD proves that a small Belcanto opera festival in an amazing environment can be successful, with special locations like the unique wooden spiraling observation tower on the top of the Sommerberg for great concert events, the tiny Königliches Kurtheater for chamber opera, the romantic English Church for special concerts, the splendid Forum König-Karls-Bad for chamber concerts and the interesting Trinkhalle for operas. But excellent performances, CD recordings with the most talented young Rossini singers and international radio broadcast build the core of ROSSINI IN WILDBAD. The festival is internationally renowned for discovering new operas of the belcanto repertory as well as outstanding young singers. “Rossini Bad Wildbad” was founded in 1989 to remind of Gioachino Rossini’s stay in the old spa town in the Black Forest. Since 1991, Jochen Schönleber is the artistic director and now also the general manager. The music director is one of the leading belcanto conductors in the world, brilliant Maestro Antonino Fogliani. The festival is hold by the city of Bad Wildbad. It is supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg and by the district of Calw.

 The 32nd Belcanto Opera Festival includes four operatic titles, two of them by Gioachino Rossini: Principal production is Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra (1815). This opera was the opening for Rossini’s most successful period in Naples from 1815 to 1822. The tragic piece – with the well known overture, re-used later on in the comedy Il barbiere di Siviglia – has beautiful and interesting music, culminating in the sad final aria of the aging queen, when she resigns from her love and pardons Leicester of being secretly married to Matilde, the daughter of Maria Stuart (in an italian opera everything is possible) after they have saved her life from the evil Norfolc. Antonino Fogliani conducts, Jochen Schönleber is the stage director.

La scala di seta (The silk ladder) is the main opera for the tiny little Kurtheater (199 seats, patron of the opening was Dame Joan Sutherland in 2005). Sara Blanch, who achieved a great personal success in Matilde di Shabran 2019, sings with César Cortes, our BelCanto Prize winner 2019, under the baton of José Miguel Pérez-Sierra.

Number three of the operas is a quite well known libretto, L’isola disabitata (The desert island) by Metastasio, but the lovely version by Manuel García was never staged yet in Germany. Last but not least comes Le philtre (1831), the original version of L’elisir d’amore by Daniel Francois Esprit Auber, a long-awaited modern premiere. Lovers and haters of Donizetti might be curious to learn how good the original actually is…

The festival opens with a monumental oratorium: La creazione – Die Schöpfung,the italian version of Haydns masterpiece at a unique location: the wooden spiraling observation tower on the Sommerberg. This is a unique experience with an excellent cast, very good acoustics and an enormous panorama, conductor is music director Antonino Fogliani.

There are two other important concerts in the festival: Diana Haller, who had a huge success in Tancredi 2019, sings Starke Frauen: Rossinis Giovanna D’Arco, Haydns Berenice and a cantata Ero e Leandro by Johann Simon Mayr as a modern premiere. Do you know Inge Borkh? She was a refugee in Switzerland, during the Nazi era, and made her debut there, soon considered to be one of the most important sopranos of the 20th century. She was famous especially for Salome, Elektra, Leonore, roles that she sang everywhere in the 50s (ok long time ago. But we have some amazing recordings!). Later on she also became a friend to our festival, as she loved listening to young voices and even a few weeks before her death 2018 she still attended one of our concerts. This concert is dedicated to her memory and Diana Haller, whom she adored as extremely talented, will be the first to receive the Inge Borkh award, before we start with an Inge Borkh scholarship 2021, in the year of her 100th birthday anniversary.

The last important concert is dedicated to a composer, who was no admirer of Rossini at all, but almost as famous as him: Hommage a Beethoven is conducted by Fogliani and combines a little bit of Rossini with a lot of Beethoven…

The always sold out concerts of the Akademie BelCanto Rossini & Co. result from the masterclasses of Raúl Giménez and Silvia Dalla Benetta, some of the finest BelCano teachers and, for the first time, of Barbara Frittoli, the internationally renowned soprano. The latter in collaboration with Stresa festival, Italy.

Dear English-speaking guests, with my modest English I’d like to invite you for the 2020 edition of ROSSINI IN WILDBAD, I’m sure the programme is worth a visit and we have a re-thought schedule this year with three similarly attractive weekends. See you in Bad Wildbad!
 


 

Jochen Schönleber
Intendant

 

You may find the schedule of this year's festival with links to ticket order here.