Even before the opening night of Guillaume Tell, Rossini had been busy trimming the fat from his final, lengthy opera. Two weeks after the work's première in Paris on 3 August, 1829, he departed for Bologna leaving behind a version of the 4-act score that differed significantly from the original, following numerous cuts and amendments. It's this version, and not the subsequent, telescoped 3-act version, that formed the basis of a new critical edition of the opera prepared by the Fondazione Rossini and Ricordi, and which was used and recorded for the first time at the 2013 Rossini in Wildbad opera festival.
For that reason alone, this new Naxos release will have enormous significance for the opera world, not to mention the outstanding singing from a superb line-up of performers.
Performed for the first time in its original uncut version, this production of Guillaume Tell was the jewel in the crown of the 25-year history of the ‘Rossini in Wildbad’ opera festival. Rossini’s final, great, operatic masterpiece is a story of liberation, the oppressed Swiss attaining their ideal of emancipation by hounding the tyrannical Habsburgs out of their country. Although it was composed for the complex demands of the Paris Opéra, numerous dances, choruses and arias were dropped for reasons of practicality. These are restored in the present recording which also includes the stunning finale of the shorter 1831 version of the opera (CD 4 / Track 13).
Listen to an extract from Act I: Ah! Mathilde, idole de mon ame!
“Veteran Rossini conductor and scholar Alberto Zedda brings formidable stylistic command coupled with a deft, affectionate touch to this live recording of L’Italiana in Algeri, rendering it among the best available.” – Opera News