IL VIAGGIO A REIMS (The Journey to Reims)
MUSIC BY GIOACHINO ROSSINI
LIBRETTO BY LUIGI BALOCCHI
GORDON GERRARD, CONDUCTOR
NANCY HERMISTON, DIRECTOR
MEMBERS OF THE VANCOUVER OPERA ORCHESTRA
Composed in 1825 for the coronation of King Charles X in Reims, France, this Rossinian masterpiece is filled with music fit for a king, with all the chaos and light-hearted fun characteristic of a Rossini opera. Originally limited to only four performances, Il viaggio a Reims was lost to history until musicologists pieced together the original manuscript in the 1970s. Since then, the piece has enjoyed a growing presence on the operatic stage, beloved for its impressive vocal fireworks and its tour-de-force of an ensemble cast working together to present a fast-paced, fun-filled plot.
On the eve of the coronation of King Charles X, aristocrats the world over gather at the Hotel of the Golden Fleur-de-lys on their way to Reims. The hotel staff are in disarray, attempting to make their business fit for royalty – but nothing could prepare them for the arrival of the guests themselves. Chaos is quick to present itself: missing luggage, a lack of transportation, and the presence of three women all courted by a bevy of men thwart the staff’s efforts. Some steadfast thinking from the Barone di Trombonok, the hard work of Madame Cortese and her hotel staff, and the announcement of a Festival in the wake of the King’s Coronation ease the madness. A celebratory banquet at the hotel is met with joy from the travellers, who resolve their differences, commenting on the folly of lovers and the beautiful insanity of the world. The banquet culminates in a harmonious presentation of songs from all the countries of those represented, ending the night joyfully as everyone sings to the glory of the King.
Banner image: Miles Linklater