Antonino Fogliani / Andrew Foster-Williams / Michael Spyres

Rossini: Guillaume Tell

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Although everybody knows its overture, Rossini's Guillaume Tell (William Tell) has been performed much less often than many of Rossini's other operas. The reasons for this reach back into the musico-political world of the 19th century, but in any era have included the opera's difficulty for the singers as well as its extreme length. The composer himself was aware of the latter issue and consented to cuts in performances subsequent to the premiere, as well as to a new three-act version for which he wrote a second finale. This latter finale, included here as a supplement along with a couple of alternative dance numbers, was Rossini's very last operatic composition. But the purported main attraction of this is the "first recording of the complete opera," as it was heard in Paris at its 1829 premiere. That may well be of interest to serious Rossini fans, but general listeners might be equally satisfied with the somewhat shorter versions out there. The best thing about this performance, recorded live over four performances at Germany's Rossini in Wildbad festival in 2013, is the basic mechanics. Conductor Antonio Fogliani leads a diverse set of little-known forces including the Camerata Bach Choir of Poznán and the Czech Republic's Virtuosi Brunensis (despite the name, not a historical-instrument ensemble), and they deliver a rip-roaring overture whose energy is sustained over much of the first act's big choruses and ultimately over the four-plus hours of opera. The singers, not big names, are adequate to the task, but not exciting, and those in search of star performances will also be looking elsewhere. One is left with the impression that the definitive recording of this hugely ambitious work has yet to be made, but at least here all the material is laid out. The live sound is naturally a bit noisy but is generally clear.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Guillaume Tell
1 11:25
2 3:29
3 5:51
4 2:14
5 5:16
6 3:52
7 3:51
8 4:31
9 4:57
10 3:20
11 5:16
12 4:56
13 3:44
14 2:58
15 5:23
16 3:44

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Guillaume Tell
1 4:03
2 3:03
3 5:35
4 2:42
5 3:15
6 6:41
7 2:57
8 6:23
9 3:38
10 3:18
11 4:00
12 5:07
13 4:20

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Guillaume Tell
1 5:39
2 4:22
3 6:32
4 4:03
5 4:41
6 5:41
7 5:11
8 1:43
9 2:58
10 3:36
11 6:27
12 5:03
13 5:19
14 3:26

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Guillaume Tell
1 6:30
2 5:14
3 2:10
4 4:39
5 4:56
6 4:06
7 3:21
8 3:15
9 1:11
10 3:30
11 4:18
12 10:15
13 4:28
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