The title of the exhibition is a cavatina sung by Selim, one of the protagonists of Rossini’s famous Il turco in Italia. Rossini’s influence on the history of Italian opera needs not be underscored, but it is worth to see how his works have been interpreted and staged over time, especially in the previous century. Opening up its vast archives, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma has mounted an exhibition tracking its past Rossini productions. The display presents iconographic materials, costumes, and audio recordings, including original sketches and drawings by prominent figurative artists, such as Giorgio De Chirico, as well as the greatest Italian set and costume designers: Pier Luigi Pizzi, Cipriano Efisio Oppo, Filippo Sanjust, Camillo Parravicini, Giovanni Grandi, Veniero Colasanti, Beni Montresor, Mario Pompei, Alfredo Furiga, and more. Particularly striking are the sketches, drawings, and costumes for Le roi de gourmets (1965), a playful choreography by Cesare Brero set to Rossini’s music. Made by Lila De Nobili, the designs were a tribute to Rossini’s culinary passion, with dancers impersonating the composer’s favourite dishes: Woman-Turkey, Woman-Roast, Prawns, Desserts, Potatoes, etc. Also on display is an authentic copy of the first volume of the score printed for The Barber of Seville in 1825.
Francesco Reggiani, Alessandra Malusardi (Archivio Storico della Fondazione dell Teatro dell’Opera di Roma)
Monika Chudzikowska, Katarzyna Wodarska-Ogidel (Theatre Museum)
Pictured: Giorgio de Chirico’s sets for Otello (1964)