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The Sunday Opera: Giaochino Rossini's "Bianca e Falliero"

This week's Sunday Opera features another forgotten work: Rossini's "Bianca e Falliero"

It’s another lesser-known work by a well-known composer on this week’s Sunday Opera (3/13 3:00 p.m.) as we turn Gioachino Rossini’s 1819 work “Bianca e Falliero, ossia il consiglio dei tre” (“Bianca and Falliero, or the Counsel of Three”) in a live performance from 2015.

The libretto by Felice Romani is based on Antoine-Vincent Arnalt’s play “Les Venitiens, ou Balance et Montcassin.” This romantic opera set in 17th century Venice that, after some major complication, does have a happy ending.

The opera begins with a celebration in St. Mark’s Square celebrating the lion as the symbol of Venice that has stood the test against Spain. During the celebration, two of the senators, Contareno (Kenneth Tarver) and Capellio (Baurzhan Anderzhanov), reconcile their longtime feud over a contested inheritance resulting in a giddy Conterano promising the hand of his daughter, Bianca (Cinzia Forte), to Capellio to seal the pact.

Unfortunately, Bianca is in love with Falliero (Victoria Yarovaya), a general of Venice who has just returned from battle having recaptured Bergamo from the Spaniards. Through the course of the opera, Bianca refuses the hand of Capellio, and a clandestined meeting between Bianca and Falliero ends with Falliero escaping over a garden wall into the Spanish Embassy where he is arrested as a traitor. At his trial, Bianca offers her testimony as Falliero’s accomplice to the Counsel of three (two of whom are Conterano and Capellio) that she is in love with Falliero, and her father’s arrival forced Falliero’s escape. The judges find that explanation satisfactory; Bianca and Falliero are reunited and look forward to a happy and peaceful life together.

The cast also includes Marina Viotti as Bianca’s nurse Constanza, Laurent Kubla as the Doge of Venice, Marcin Banas as the third judge Loredano, and Artavazd Sargsyan in a variety of small roles. They’re joined by the Camerata Bach Choir of Poznan and the Virtuosi Brunensis. Silvano Zabeo plays the fortepiano, and Antonino Fogliani conducts.

Stay tuned after the opera when Michael Kownacky will be bringing you more music of Rossini including two Sonatas for Strings (Nos. 4 & 6), two selections from Rossini’s Soirees Musicales beautifully performed by Raul Gimenez, and two dances for piano, the Petite Polka Chinoise and Petite Valse de Boudoir, both performed by Alessandro Marangoni.

Join us for an afternoon of some charming music and a happy ending! We can all use happy endings as often as we can get them.