Rossini's Spectacular "Guillaume Tell" is Your Met Radio Broadcast

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gerald Finley in the title role of Rossini's 'Guillaume Tell.' Gerald Finley in the title role of Rossini's "Guillaume Tell." (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Gioachino Rossini can number some of the world’s most beloved operas among his creations: L’Italiana en Algeri, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Otello, just to name a few. But it was the ambitious spectacle of Guillaume Tell that ended the composer’s opera-writing career on a high note.

The opera, based on the legend of the Swiss folk hero, has demonstrated incredible staying power. Its overture might be the most recognizable in all of opera, and has been excerpted to accompany imagery of pastoral countrysides and demonstrations of heroic leadership. The famous episode in which Tell shoots an apple balanced atop the head of his beloved son Jemmy also enjoyed the preservation that wonderful artistic interpretation so often provides.

Even though William Tell maintains significant cultural values, it’s relatively rare to experience a full operatic production of Rossini’s masterpiece. The reason is simple: there’s a lot to handle. For starters, there’s the length. It’s nearly four hours long; all that music demands an incredible sustained effort from all participants. But there’s also the issues surrounding its production. This opera is spectacular in every sense of the word. For its premiere, Guillaume Tell required the successful technical execution of many a production feat that had never before been attempted. 200 years later, audiences still expect to see the stage transformed to reflect the epic nature of the story.

This past Autumn the Metropolitan debuted an all new production of Guillaume Tell, and the most recent episode of He Sang/She Sang features the insights of its set designer, Tony award-nominee George Tsypin. Also joining host Merrin Lazyan is Operavore’s own Fred Plotkin, who explains just why Guillaume Tell is “one of the best operas ever written, in the world. Period.”


Conductor: Fabio Luisi

Mathilde: Marina Rebeka

Jemmy: Janai Brugger

Hedwige: Maria Zifchak

Arnold: Bryan Hymel

Guillaume Tell: Gerald Finley

Walter Furst: Marco Spotti

Melcthal: Kwangchul Youn

Gesler: John Relyea

Comments [4]

CastaDiva from New York, NY

@Thomas Geraghty

Yes, the original libretto was in French. but the work is more frequently performed in Italian.

Mar. 18 2017 09:35 PM
Thomas Geraghty from Yonkers, NY

Tuned in about 4 PM - did not know what we were listening to. They opera was in French. (?) Is that the original libretto?

Mar. 18 2017 06:44 PM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

Heavenly music, ruined by the terrible tenor. When I went to this at the Met last Fall, I though he bleated his way through it, and, listening to the broadcast, have no reason to change my opinion.

Mar. 18 2017 01:53 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Looking forward to listening. Do not know this opera other than the overture and the gorgeous finale.
CBC: Hope you are well.

Mar. 18 2017 10:24 AM

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