“Le Comte Ory” in its original form
Zürich Opera stages Rossini’s master opera with a star cast
23.1.2011 Opernhaus Zürich (first night)
Gioachino Rossini: Le Comte Ory (first performance using the critical new edition, edited by Damien Colas). Conductor: Muhai Tang, directors: Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier – Further performances: 27.1., 29.1., 1.2,, 3.2, 5.2.2011
Rossini’s opera Le Comte Ory is one of the Italian composer’s most fascinating works and undeniably one of the most erotic operas in the entire musical repertoire. The love-crazed Count Ory wants to profit from the absence of many husbands who are away from home fighting in the wars. He disguises himself as a hermit and a nun in order to chat up ladies who have taken a vow of chastity. But again and again he is uncovered and finally has to tear himself away without having achieved his aim.
Musically, the work is both a parody and a masquerade, half “recycled” from Rossini’s coronation opera Il viaggio a Reims. The result combines the verve of Italian buffa, the art of instrumentation of opéra comique and the richness of grand opera.
The new Zürich production is the first to use the scholarly-critical edition from the selected edition Opere di Gioachino Rossini published by Bärenreiter. Unlike earlier editions, it consistently returns to the version which Rossini made in 1828 and which he himself performed at the Paris Opéra. As well as numerous smaller details, important inclusions in the historically accurate recreation are the two act finales in their original scoring and extent. The conclusion of the first act once again includes the full ensemble of 13 solo parts and two choruses intended by Rossini, and in the Finale of the concluding second act, 60 bars which have been missing until now from the sole surviving first edition of 1828 have been reinstated.
The first performance using the Urtext version of Le Comte Ory takes place in Zürich, directed by the Belgian-French duo of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, conducted by Muhai Tang. Cecilia Bartoli makes her debut in the role of Countess Adèle, alongside a cast of first class Rossini interpreters.