Houston Grand Opera broadcasts return to Classical 90.5 at noon this Saturday, November 2, with a performance of The Italian Girl in Algiers by Gioachino Rossini, set to an Italian libretto by Angelo Anelli, based on his earlier text set by Luigi Mosca. The performance will be sung in Italian and will run approximately three hours.
The Italian Girl in Algiers is one of Rossini’s most popular operas, with a score marked by brilliant orchestration and witty melodies. From the moment she lands on the Algerian coast to rescue her true love, Lindoro, we know the resourceful Isabella is going to outsmart the conniving Mustafà, whose great hope is to find an Italian wife for himself. Mustafà's plans go hilariously awry as Isabella thwarts Mustafà's advances, finding and freeing Lindoro in the process.
Mezzo-Soprano Daniela Barcellona, making her Houston Grand Opera debut in the role of Isabella, is internationally renowned for her mastery of the bel canto repertoire. Her breakthrough performance ten years ago at the Rossini Opera Festival led to performances at all the major opera houses. Critics have praised her voice and technique, saying, “The timbre is true mezzo, truly beautiful — nothing forced or artificially coloured — and her range is impressive.” (Gramilano.)
A winner of the Richard Tucker and Marion Anderson Awards, Lawrence Brownlee (Lindoro) has emerged as one of the most prominent bel canto tenors on the world stage. Of his 2008 debut at the Metropolitan Opera, The Associated Press noted, “His lyric voice falls on the ear with unusual sweetness, even in its upper reaches, yet it carries enough punch to be clearly heard in the vast Met auditorium. He has mastered the bel canto technique of fast runs, trills and ornamentation that Rossini requires.”
Buffo bass Patrick Carfizzi sings the role of the Turk Mustafà. The Houston Chronicle noted “Carfizzi not only sings with immense power, but is scene-stealingly funny.” A regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Canadian Opera, he has won the Richard Tucker Award, the George London Award, and the Sullivan Award among others.
Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi won the first Toscanini competition for conductors in 1985 after which he often conducted at Covent Garden. In 1992, he became Music Director of Welsh National Opera, a post he held until 2009, conducting an extensive range of repertoire.