Classical Music | Mezzo-Soprano

Gioachino Rossini

Anzoleta avanti la regata, from La regata veneziana  Play

Naomi O'Connell Mezzo-soprano
Brent Funderburk Piano

Recorded on 08/15/2011, uploaded on 09/29/2011

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Gioachino Rossini ended his highly successful career at the age of thirty-eight with the production of Guillaume Tell in 1829, his thirty-eighth opera. Once retired, Rossini indulged in his great love for food. He was a well-known gourmand and became an excellent amateur chef himself. Yet, during these years, Rossini never fully gave up composing and lost none of the proficiency in his craft. For the next thirty-nine years of his life, he composed small pieces intended for private performances, usually in the drawing room of his estate in Passy. Many of these were essentially salon music, albeit tempered with Rossini’s skill, and ranged from compositions for solo voice, to piano solos and chamber music. The aging composer collected 150 of these pieces into fourteen albums to which he gave the self-deprecating and ironic title Péchés des vieillesse (“Sins of Old Age”).

Among the Péchés des vieillesse is the song cycle La regata Veneziana, based on three poems by Count Carlo Pepoli in the Venetian dialect. The Count was an amateur poet and a frequent guest of Rossini’s. Indeed, the composer was already familiar with Pepoli’s texts. Many years earlier, he set a number of the Count’s poems in his Les soirées musicales. The three poems used here tell of a young woman, Anzoleta, who watches and cheers on her lover, Momolo, in a Venetian regatta, or gondola race. In the first song, Anzoleta avanti la regata (“Anzoleta before the regatta”), Anzoleta excitedly encourages Momolo to win the race and reminds him that she will be watching from an overlooking balcony. Beginning in A-flat major, the cascading melody with which the song begins captures the scene of the Venetian canals and the impending contest. Anzoleta’s melody, however, enters in the minor mode creating a sense of urgency in her encouragement, but returns to the major expressing her confidence that he will when the race.      Joseph DuBose

Courtesy of the Steans Institute

Steans Music Institute

The Steans Music Institute is the Ravinia Festival's professional studies program for young musicians.