Rossini’s Ermione wins Gramophone Magazine Opera of the year

October 6, 2011

Opera Rara is delighted to announce that the label has been presented with Gramophone Magazine’s coveted Opera of the Year Award for Rossini’s Ermione.

Ermione is without doubt one of the greatest operas by Rossini; but the work was greeted with incomprehension at its one performance in 1819 and was never revived in Rossini’s lifetime. The composer was resigned: ‘It is my little Guillaume Tell in Italian,’ he said, ‘and will not see the light of day until after my death.’

Since its first stage revival in Pesaro in 1987, Ermione has been recognised as a lost masterpiece. Set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, the opera’s novelties begin with an overture interrupted by a choral lament of Trojan prisoners. Tension and staggering originality are maintained right to the very end.

With its fabulous cast (including Carmen Giannattasio, Patricia Bardon, Paul Nilon, Colin Lee, Bülent Bezdüz, Graeme Broadbent and Rebecca Bottone) accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, the work is conducted by David Parry. The 2 CD set (ORC42) features Opera Rara’s usual beautiful packaging, including a complete libretto with an English translation and article/synopsis by eminent 19th-century musical scholar, Jeremy Commons.

The award was collected by soprano, Carmen Giannattasio and Opera Rara’s managing director, Stephen Revell. In his acceptance speech, Revell said, “This is a very happy and proud day for Opera Rara…I would like to thank the Peter Moores Foundation for its very generous support of our work over many years. Opera Rara is a charity and cannot survive on CD sales alone. We love what we do and I believe that we are doing something very worthwhile. We rely on sponsorship to fund our recordings and, each time we look to record another forgotten masterpiece, we wonder where our funding will come from. We thank all those opera lovers who continue to support our work….I would also like to remember our beloved Patric Schmid, the co-founder of Opera Rara, who sadly did not live to see this day….finally, let me thank Gramophone for giving us this great award, the wonderful artists who made this beautiful recording and my hardworking and dedicated Opera Rara team who made it possible.”

Ms Giannattasio added, “For me, working on Ermione has been what you call a labour of love and, to bring this forgotten glorious music of Rossini to life again, makes me incredibly happy. Working with Opera Rara is like belonging to a warm and loving family and I hope that I can be a member of this family for many years to come. Grazie Mille and Viva Rossini”.