MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

William Tell at the Edinburgh International Festival

My review of William Tell, given a concert performance by Gianandrea Noseda and the Teatro Regio Torino at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, is now live on Bachtrack:

A conspiracy theorist might ponder whether the programming of William Tell during the final week of the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival, the day after the Salmond-Darling Scottish independence debate on the BBC, was intended as a propaganda move in support of the “yes” campaign.

Certainly the fervour of the opera’s grand finale, as the Swiss rise up in triumphant revolt against their hated imperial overlords, is so palpably rousing as to make one at least question the commonplace assumption of Rossini’s indifference to political matters.

And in a coincidence sure to fuel our conspiracist’s fantasies, the Milanese censor gave the green light for the opera’s staging at La Scala – several years after its 1829 première in Paris – only on condition that the setting be changed to Scotland, with the protagonist restyled as “Guglielmo Vallace”, and a name change from Gualtiero to “Kirkpatrick”.

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Filed under: conductors, opera, review, Rossini

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