Joseph Rescigno, Rossini, La Gazzetta, New England Conservatory Opera
Joseph Rescigno will conduct a rare staging of Rossini's opera buffa, La gazzetta, ossia Il matrimonio per concorso ("The Newspaper, or The Wedding Contest"), presented by the New England Conservatory at Boston's Paramount Theater, April 6-9, 2013. The fully staged production with all-student cast and orchestra will be directed by NEC's Chair of Opera Studies, Joshua Major.
This will be the American premiere of a new critical edition of the opera (2002), by Philip Gossett and Fabrizio Scipioni, who in 2011 discovered previously unpublished music from the opera at the Library of the Conservatory of Palermo - nine pages of recitative and a quintet - which will receive its world premiere at these performances.
Maestro Rescigno believes that the scarcity of performances of La gazzetta in American opera houses has two primary reasons: "It is very long and needs cutting, and the Neapolitan dialect for the character of Don Pomponio is quite hard to learn. For that matter, even La Cenerentola and L'Italiana in Algeri have only become fairly common in the last 40 years, though my uncle, Nicola Rescigno, opened the Dallas Opera with L'Italiana in 1957. But especially before the 1950s, Rossini operas beyond IL Barbiere di Siviglia were hardly ever heard on this side of the Atlantic."
Joseph Rescigno, who grew up speaking the Neapolitan language with his great-grandmother, will be coaching the singers portraying Don Pomponio in pronunciation as well as interpretation. Describing the differences between Italian and Neapolitan, he says, "It is more than an accent. There are quite a few different words; and they are much more numerous and more different than, for example, the differences in usage between British English and American English. Probably the best comparison I can make is to imagine a German opera in which one character sings in Yiddish."
He adds, "I am very much looking forward to working again with Philip Gossett. We have been friends since we collaborated on a production of La Cenerentola in St. Louis in the 1980s, in which he worked with the singers on ornamentation."