Rossini Opera Festival – Where Lemons Blossom’s journey to Reims


My sister Cristina got me a ticket to the most brilliant journey I did this Summer (‘she’s got a ticket to ride…’ and the ride, within the Rossini theatre, was really entertaining because we went to see Il Viaggio a Reims within the Rossini Opera Festival on Aug 16th!).

Il Viaggio a Reims, ossia l’albergo del giglio d’oro (‘The journey to Reims, or the hotel of the golden Fleur-de-lis) is an operatic dramma giocoso by Rossini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Balocchi, commissioned to celebrate the coronation of French king Charles X in Reims in 1825. The ‘journey’ was first performed at the ‘Théâtre Italien’ in Paris on June 19th 1825 (it is a demanding work as it requires 14 soloists) but the manuscript was assumed lost.  The different parts of the manuscript were re-found and re-assembled in the 1970’s by Janet Johnson and Philip Gossett. On Aug 18th 1984 the first performance – after the reconstruction – was given at the Rossini Opera Festival, conducted by Claudio Abbado and directed by Luca Ronconi.

On Aug 9th – one day before the inauguration of the ROF –  the 1984 edition of Il Viaggo a Reims was projected on a wide screen in People Square in Pesaro. To celebrate Abbado and the 30th anniversary of the reconstruction of Rossini’s ‘journey’.

Il Viaggo a Reims I attended was performed by young interpreters from the ‘Accademia Rossiniana’, conducted by Ivan Lopez Reyonso in a restaging of the 2001 production. Among the interpreters, particularly appreciated were Yunpeng Wang, Marko Mimica, Iurii Samoilov, Nico Darmanin, Isabel Rodríguez García, Aya Wakizono, Giulia De Blasis and Shahar Lavì.

A few figures (15,250 tickets sold, to a total of about 946.000 euro) confirm the importance of Rossini Opera Festival and its capability of attracting music lovers from all the world (the presence of foreign visitors accounts for 63.5% according to ROF official website, mostly coming from France, Germany, Japan, England, Russia, USA, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium).

Upon entering the Rossini theatre, my mind went back to my early 20’s when I used to work for the Rossini Opera Festival Information Point at the ‘Sperimentale theatre’ in Rossini street. This sweet memory, together with the amusing performance of Il Viaggio a Reims, made my day!



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