'Il Viaggio a Reims' -
'... an evening of pure champagne.'
The best thing about the reign of Charles X may well be this opera, written to add sparkle to his coronation. The fact that none of the guests at the Hotel of the Golden Lily managed to get there gave Rossini all the fillip he needed for an evening of pure champagne. Charles, despite having spent much time at Holyrood and ten years in London, turned out one of the wisest fools in royalty; all his good intentions led merely to the revolution of 1830. Rossini saw no reason to have the work performed again when the festivities were over and snaffled some of its best music for Le conte Ory. But Rossini can always be guaranteed to bring the sun out on the gloomiest of days.
On-stage harpist Elena Vasilieva. Screenshot © 2005 Théâtre musical de Paris, Châtelet, and François Roussillon Associés
Copyright © 28 August 2007
Robert Anderson, London UK