Rossini: Il viaggio a Reims

Reviewed on Thu 18 Aug, 2016

Proudly following the critical edition without cuts, this live performance boasts singing throughout that is is beautiful and highly skilled.

Commissioned as an entertainment for the coronation of Charles X, Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims has comedy, wonderful music including great ensembles, but a flimsy story. Part I introduces travellers from across Europe staying at an inn en route for Rheims. After a beautiful, lyrical aria Alessandra Marianelli switches (on disc 1, track 3) to a great display of vocal agility in comic patter. A fantastic sextet follows Sofia Mchedlishvili’s aria (tracks 5 and 6) which displays her coloratura and her sweetness of voice. Track 10 (featuring material recognisably reworked from Armida) is exquisitely sung by Laura Giordano with harp accompaniment. Part II introduces more characters, the information that there are no horses to get them to Rheims but a promise of later celebrations in Paris. Palazzi sings a great aria with flute obbligato, (disc 2, tracks 2-4) followed apparently by a love duet from Giordano and Mihai (track 7) but she then spurns him. This CD ends with an amazing ‘concertato’ for 24 voices after Bruno De Simone sings a patter song with amusing impersonations. Part III has a proper love duet (disc 3, track 3) lyrically sung by Marianna Pizzolato and Maxim Mironov. The finale commences with visiting dancers and singers. Loyal toasts, some quite comic, follow from individual characters, Giordano’s being the most serious. They all toast the new King in a final ensemble. Proudly following the critical edition without cuts, this live performance boasts singing throughout that is is beautiful and highly skilled. The libretto, however, is only accessible online.
–Ruth Piatkus