Broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera continue on Classical 90.5 at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, February 2nd, with a performance of Le Comte Ory by Gioachino Rossini, with a libretto in French by Eugène Scribe and Charles Gaspard Delesstre-Poirson (based on a one-act play, derived from a medieval legend set down by Pierre Antoine de la Place). The performance will run approximately three hours and five minutes.
Rossini's first opera in French, Le Comte Ory borrowed four numbers from his earlier work Il Viaggio a Reims, written in Italian three years previously for Paris audiences. Originally, Eugène Scribe and Charles Gaspard Delesstre-Poirson offered Rossini a one-act play in which a knight dresses as a nun to seduce a countess. Rossini asked for another act to be added, and produced his two act opera. Le Comte Ory proved popular, thanks to audiences' particular enjoyment of its arias and choruses and its vocally dazzling comedy.
Maurizio Benini conducts and Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher directs the Met's production. "Rossini is one of the great theatrical minds in comedy," Sher says, "and I love the deep sense of love that's in the music. You always feel more capable of understanding love when you get to the end of a Rossini opera." Sher, who directed the Met’s popular productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Les Contes d’Hoffmann, describes the world of Le Comte Ory as “a place where love is dangerous. People get hurt. That can be very funny and very painful. Rossini captures both—with the most beautiful love music he ever wrote.”