The Indiana University Opera Theater opens their 2009-10 with Gioachino Rossini’s the Italian girl in Algiers, (l’Italiana in Algeri), sung in Italian with English supertitles. The conductor will be Arthur Fagen with stage direction by Vincent Liotta. The set design originally for the Opera Company of Philadlephia is by Paul Short.
The production marks a first for conductor Arthur Fagen. Fagen is in his second year on the faculty at the Jacobs School. Although he’s a veteran with more than seventy operas in his port folio, this is his first opportunity to lead an opera at IU. “I’m very fond of Rossini,” Fagen said. “This is pure bel canto and so it favors the singers, but the orchestra also has some lovely sections in which to shine.”
When asked about the relevance of the story today, Fagen had some particular thoughts. “There is a tendency today especially in Europe to set this opera in a sort of contemporary banana republic, but I like to keep to the period. In fact we have found some local resources to help us realize this even more effectively.”
“In a recent publication by Ricordi I found that there are written out cadenzas and ornamentation for Isabella’s second act rondo based on ones of Laure Ciniti-Damoreau. She worked with Rossini and as it turns out these manuscripts are actually here at the library. We’re using them in the production.”
“We are using cadenzas and ornamentation in Isabella’s second act Rondo based on those of Laure Cinti-Damoreau, one of the most celebrated singers of the early 19th-century, who had worked with Rossini. The manuscripts for these cadenzas are in the library of the Jacobs School of Music.”
The IU Opera Theater’s production of L’Italiana in Algeri plays Friday and Saturday September 25, 26 and October 2,3, 2009