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Gala Concert


  • 21 May 2018, 18:00


GIOACHINO ROSSINI Overture to the opera buffa Il barbiere di Siviglia

GIOACHINO ROSSINI From the first act of the Opera buffa Il barbiere di Siviglia:
Cavatina of Rosina “Una voce poco fa”

GIOACHINO ROSSINI From the third act of the Dramma per musica Otello ossia Il moro di Venezia:
Willow song of Desdemona “Assisa a’ piè d’un salice”
Prayer of Desdemona “Deh calma, o Ciel, nel sonno”
Scene of Otello “Eccomi giunto inosservato”
Duet Desdemona and Otello “Non arrestare il colpo”

GIOACHINO ROSSINI Overture to the dramma giocoso La Cenerentola

GIOACHINO ROSSINI From the second act of the Dramma giocoso La Cenerentola:
Final rondo of Angelina “Non più mesta”

RICHARD WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90

RICHARD WAGNER From the opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96:
“Am stillen Herd”, song from Stolzing 
Tanz der Lehrbuben 
“Morgenlich leuchtend”, song of praise from Stolzing 


Rolando Villazón regrets that he has had to withdraw from the gala concert for health reasons. Given the short notice of the cancellation, it has not been possible to engage another soloist to stand in. Cecilia Bartoli, the artistic director of the Whitsun Festival, and maestro Daniel Barenboim have fortunately agreed to incorporate some additional pieces into the programme for the first part of the concert, which is now amended as set out above. The second half of the concert will take place as originally announced with Jonas Kaufmann. 

End of the concert approx. 07:55 pm

Print programme (PDF)


Daniel Barenboim, Conductor
Cecilia Bartoli, Mezzo-soprano
Jonas Kaufmann, Tenor
Staatskapelle Berlin


While composing Lohengrin, Richard Wagner claimed he was in ‘great torment’. Melodies from Rossini’s Guillaume Tell were stuck in his head and paralyzing his inspiration. It was only by humming Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that he was able to free himself and return to composing. ‘It is music one must hear a number of times’, Rossini acknowledged after attending a performance of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, ‘but I won’t be going again’.

The two geniuses may have traded barbs, but their only encounter, in Paris in 1860, was a civil, thoughtful and even merry meeting of minds. Wagner was impressed not least of all by Otello and remarked of the occasion that the ‘swan of Pesaro’ was the one truly great figure amongst all the musicians he had met in Paris. Musically, the two probably never came closer to each other than in the enthralling and practically through-composed third act of Otello. By the same token, in Wagner’s overtures, preludes, and the near-transcendent Liebestod (love-death), it feels like old conventions are being followed and surpassed at the same time. Rossini and Wagner: a musical summit between two opposites, with a starry line-up of performers.