Opera Scotland

Signor Bruschino 1969Teatro Comunale, Florence

Read more about the opera Signor Bruschino

Il signor Bruschino

Bruschino is one of Rossini’s youthful one-act farces, and very rarely staged, which is a pity.  The most well-known element of the piece is the overture, famous for the sequences where the second violins tap their bows on their music stands - the sound produced depending on what material those stands are made of - wood and metal would sound very different.  On this occasion the metal sounded a bit too tinny.

The staging by Filippo Crivelli, in designs by Gianni Vagnetti, was conventional - in a formal garden attached to the big house.  On this occasion, the most notable elements of the performance were the first British appearance of the young comic Claudio Desderi, and the return of the masterly buffo baritone Renato Capecchi.

In most other respects this staging was rather overshadowed by the second half of the evening – Tito Gobbi starring in his own production of Gianni Schicchi.  Anna di Stasio was excellent as Marianna, though Jolanda Meneguzzer was not in freshest voice as her mistress.  Giuseppe Baratti revealed a sweet-toned tenor.

The excellent young conductor,  Aldo Ceccato, was making his first appearances in the UK, though he soon returned to London for performances at Covent Garden, and to lead the Beverly Sills recordings of La traviata and Maria Stuarda.

Perhaps it is better to play the Rossini works in pairs, as Scottish Opera did many years later with The Marriage Contract and The Silken Ladder.


The Festival opera programme - 1969

This three week visit to the 1969 Festival by the opera company from Florence brought a repertoire of largely unfamiliar work, with the popular Verdi and Puccini presented with good casts that justified their inclusion. There were four programmes and six operas in all, with details given below.

Scottish Opera's contribution was on the Fringe - a late night double bill at the Gateway. This consisted of Robin Orr's Full Circle and the premiere of a comedy by John Purser, The Undertaker. The Music Theatre Ensemble provided  late night showings including  Monteverdi (Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda) and Stravinsky (Renard). The Usher Hall programme concluded with Giulini conducting the Verdi Messa da Requiem.


Teatro Comunale, Florence at the Edinburgh Festival - 1969

The Florence company brought four programmes - two full-length operas and two double bills of shorter works. The repertoire provided a useful survey of Italian opera from Rossini's time to the recent past, with two of the composers still living.

The six operas were by Rossini (Il signor Bruschino);  Donizetti (Maria Stuarda);  Verdi (Rigoletto);   Puccini (Gianni Schicchi);   Malipiero (Sette Canzoni);  Dallapiccola (Il prigioniero).

The performance schedule was:

First week, comm 25 Aug:  Mon 25 Maria Stuarda;  Tue 26 Rigoletto;  Wed 27 np;  Thu 28 Maria Stuarda;  Fri 29 Sette Canzoni & Il prigioniero;  Sat 30 Rigoletto.

Second week, comm 1 Sep:  Mon 1 Maria Stuarda;  Tue 2 np;  Wed 3 Rigoletto;  Thu 4 Il signor Bruschino & Gianni Schicchi;  Fri 5 Sette Canzoni Il prigioniero;  Sat 6 Il signor Bruschino & Gianni Schicchi.

Third week, comm 8 Sep:  Mon 8 Maria Stuarda;  Tue 9 Rigoletto;  Wed 10 Il signor Bruschino & Gianni Schicchi;  Thu 11 np;  Fri 12 Il signor Bruschino & Gianni Schicchi;  Sat 13 Rigoletto.


Rare Rossini Operas at the Edinburgh Festival

Several Rossini works have appeared in Edinburgh when they were little known anywhere.  The first of these imported stagings was Il signor Bruschino (from Florence 1969), then  Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra, brought from Palermo in 1972.  After a near thirty-year gap Festival Director Brian McMaster in 2001 began a series of four concert performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and top-rank performers. The series began with Armida, sponsored by the Peter Moores Foundation.  That sponsorship continued with live recordings made by Opera Rara - Zelmira (2003),  Adelaide di Borgogna (2005), and La Donna del Lago (2006).  After a gap, in 2011 a staging of Semiramide appeared.

Performance DatesSignor Bruschino 1969

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King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

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