Rossini in Wildbad
Belcanto Opera Festival

IL VIAGGIO A REIMS 2014 young cast
IL VIAGGIO A REIMS 2014 young cast
A Rossini festival in the Black Forest--can that be possible?  For over 25 years Rossini in Bad Wildbad has shown that a small, but specialized bel canto opera festival can be successful, with splendid CD recordings and international radio transmission.  The Festival is internationally renowned for discovering new operas of the bel canto repertory and outstanding young singers.  “Rossini in Wildbad” was founded in 1989 as a memorial to Gioachino Rossini’s stay in the Black Forest spa town.  Joachen Schönleber has been the Artistic Director since 1991, and now he is also the General Manager.  The Music Director is one of the world’s leading bel canto conductors, the brilliant Italian Antonino Fogliani.  The Festival is held in the city of Bad Wildbad, and supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg and the District of Calw.  Principal sponsor is AWG Calw.

General Manager   Jochen Schönleber

Artistic Director      Jochen Schönleber

Music Director       Antonino Fogliani

Organisation Martin Schiereck

The Festival has achieved an excellent reputation in recent years, and is especially famous for introducing new voices and talented young conductors and directors and for staging the lesser known operas of Rossini or operas in uncommon versions.
Collaboration with national radio stations has led to extremely successful CD and DVD recordings, for example the CD debut of Joyce DiDonato in La cenerentola, conducted by Alberto Zedda, still a jewel and outstanding recording of the opera.  Semiramide (conducted by Fogliani) with major singers like Penda, Pizzolato, Osborn and Regazzo is also a world-wide success.
Other titles, all on the Naxos label, include L’equivoco stravagante, La donna del lago (conducted by Zedda), La pietra del paragone, Torvaldo e Dorliska (conducted by Alessandro de Marchi), Ciro in Babilonia, Mosè in Egitto and a thrilling Otello with the CD debut of Michael Spyres and Jessica Pratt (conducted by Antonino Fogliani).  Pezzi sacri on the Bongiovanni label is conducted by Gabriele Bellini.  Numerous great singers of a new generation had their debut or CD debut in Bad Wildbad in major roles, including Pavol Breslik, Michael Spyres, Joyce DiDonato, Jessica Pratt and Olga Peretyatko.
Another focus is the discovery of great composers and their works from the age of Rossini: Simone Mayr’s L’amor coniugale (conducted by Christopher Franklin, recorded by Naxos); Michele Carafa’s I due Figaro (conducted by Brad Cohen, DVD on Bongiovanni); Meyerbeer’s Semiramide (conducted by Richard Bonynge, CBE, on Naxos); Saverio Mercadante’s lovely Don Chisciotte and his I briganti, adopted from Schiller (both conducted by Antonino Fogliani, recorded on Naxos).
The Belcanto Academy is a source for outstanding young singers.  In cooperation with internationally famous musicians like Alberto Zedda, Raúl Giménez, etc., Rossini in Wildbad established an educational program which in 2004 became  an academy dedicated to the study of bel canto.  Besides offering courses in the style and history of bel canto, the talented young singers work closely with masters in the field and attend rehearsals.  The Academy of Bel Canto (ABC) is dedicated to teaching young singers and conductors the dimensions of the human voice and helping them improve their technique.
In 2009, the financial crisis affected the Rossini Festival, causing a reduced program that year.  But in 2010, the Rossini Festival triumphantly came back.  In cooperation with Raúl Giménez’ new Academy Concertante Barcelona, the students created a technically sophisticated and vocally superb production of La cenerentola.  This cooperation continued in 2011 with Il turco in Italia.  In 2013, the Festival was all about the first complete DVD and CD recording of Rossini’s last opera, the monumental Guillaume Tell. Many important recordings are documents of the growing festival: The first complete recording of Semiramide 2012 was praised for its length, which is not all boring, Viaggio a Reims (2014) has a brillant cast, Otello (2008) is not  only a breathtaking drama, but also the amazing debut of a wonderful couple in opera: Jessica Pratt and Michael Spyres. 2015 the dvd of L'inganno felice was praised in international reviews for the subtle and detailled stage version and the excellent conductor. Every year we add appr. 4 operas to the CD catalogue of NAXOS.
The ROSSINI IN WILDBAD BELCANTO OPERA FESTIVAL program is available on the programme page.