What happens to you if you’re a Rossini opera that receives its premiere in between Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, both of which become smash hits? If your title is La gazzetta (The Newspaper), you languish in obscurity for two centuries. Adding insult to injury, your overture gets appropriated for a Cinderella story. But if you wait long enough, there is a happy ending.
Scott Ziemann, Jessie Shulman, and Kyle Paterson read all about it.
Call it a retro-chic revival. In 2001, just as newspapers began to die out, this Neapolitan confection was suddenly rediscovered, and it enjoyed productions in major European cities and in Boston, spurred by a new critical edition by Stefano Scipioni and Philip Gossett. On June 28, that version of La gazzetta, with one augmentation, received its West Coast premiere in a production by Pacific Opera Project, enchanting its capacity audience at the Highland Park Ebell Club. Remaining performances are scheduled for July 6 and 7.
The added feature, not in the work from its 1816 premiere until the current decade, was the restoration of a lost quintet that ends the first of the work’s two acts, discovered as recently as 2011. (Gossett was able to authenticate it before he died last year, a final flourish to a storied musicological career.) The quintet is a highlight, partly because some of its tunes are familiar from Il barbieredi Siviglia but mostly because its vocal accelerando works itself into a frenzy, becoming the biggest single rouser in an evening full of them.