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December 2014
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Teatro Regio at the Harris and on WFMT

Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy

Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy

Wednesday at 6:50 pm

Producing opera is a 400 year old occupation for Italians. They’ve exported the scores of Verdi, Puccini, and Rossini to theaters worldwide, not to mention performers like Pavarotti and Toscanini. They’ve erected sumptuous opera houses; and in spite of their tendency to burn down (Teatro Regio burned in 1936), Italians maintain traditions in an unbroken line directly back to the composers. In such vital and energizing environs, it seems they have been slow to leave. According to Teatro Regio Torino, inaugurated in 1740, Wednesday’s concert in Chicago’s Harris Theater marks the company’s first appearance in North America.

The Teatro Regio Torino production of “Guglielmo Tell” by Gioachino Rossini; directed by Graham Vick; costumes by Paul Brown; photo by Ramella & Giannese

Teatro Regio presents a concert performance of the final opera of Gioachino Rossini: Guillaume Tell, a french language opera composed by Rossini in Paris in 1828. The opera tells the story of a Swiss rebel who leads his people against their Austrian oppressors. Although Guillaume Tell depicts a fourteenth century folk hero, the subject of popular uprising tripped the censors in both France and in Italy, causing cuts and delays in productions of the opera. It was a year before the French premiere took place. An Italian translation of Guillaume Tell followed in 1831.

“I think Rossini, with great sensitivity, felt the changes that were taking place around him. So he decided to leave the scene but does so with the mastery of a “coup de théâtre”, showing to the world, through William Tell, that if he wanted, he could have made it a landmark in the eighteenth century melodrama.”

—Gianandrea Noseda

Angela Meade

American soprano Angela Meade sings the role of Matilde


Luca Salsi singing Macbeth with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2013, c. Todd Rosenberg

The Teatro Regio Torino presents the Italian version of Rossini’s final opera, Guglielmo Tell. Baritone Luca Salsi, who sang the role of Macbeth in Riccardo Muti’s performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, sings the title role of Guglielmo Tell. Washington state native Angela Meade sings the role of the Habsburg princess Matilde; and Iowa native, tenor John Osborn sings Arnoldo. Gianandrea Noseda, the outgoing music director of Teatro Regio Torino conducts these performances, which will include stops in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Toronto, and at Carnegie Hall.

WFMT will go to the Harris Theater on Wednesday, December 3 at 6:50 pm to present a live broadcast of the concert performance of Guglielmo Tell. The 3-hour broadcast will be followed by Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin at 11:00 pm.

  • Larry Janowski

    I feel genuine regret for any Chicago opera lover who missed last night’s performance of William Tell at the Harris. On the other hand the relative smallness of the theater was like a funnel or wine press that squeezed every ounce of excitement and enthusiasm from singers and musicians. The audience, too, did itself proud–not always true among us running to our cars or trains. The experience was breathtaking and so very satisfying. Seeing William Tell was something I thought I’d never do, and I still look forward to a full-blown production, but I doubt all the costumes and scenery in the world could outdo this triumph. Buona ventura, to all the cast and crew in your American tour.

    Larry Janowski

    p.s. I admit that it was I who shaped my bravo into “Heigh ho!” after the overture. Couldn’t stop myself.

  • stamman

    I tried to record this performance on my computer. All went well until the last 10minutes, then…nothing. Can anyone help?