Opera: Rossini Rides Again

"Ah, Rossini," Beethoven said to his young Italian visitor in the spring of 1822, "you are the composer of The Bar ber of Seville. It delights me. It will be played as long as Italian opera exists." As usual, Beethoven was exactly right. Although Gioacchino Rossini dashed off 38 operas before his retirement at the age of 37, he was long known as essentially a one-opera composer. Many of his lively overtures are concert hall staples, but the musical dramas they introduce were generally considered too florid for modern ears and too...

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