Video: Two Italians Talk About Rossini

By Stephen Raskauskas |

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Baritones Alessandro Corbelli and Vito Priante are two of the most sought-after Rossini singers today. Both are performing in Lyric Opera of Chicago's current production of Rossini's Cinderella, and WFMT spoke with them backstage at the Civic Opera House about what makes the music of Rossini so special.

In our conversation, we found that these two baritones have just as wonderful a rapport off stage as they do on stage. Part of the reason is that Vito was a student of Alessandro years ago. Now they are both proud to share the stage together as colleagues in Rossini’s fairy-tale opera Cinderella.

When we first sat down to chat in a practice room backstage, both of them wanted to discuss one topic: Rossini is much more than a comedian. The composer is able to make even the most serious matters seem lighthearted, and vice versa. Hear more about what makes Rossini’s comedy so complicated from Vito and Alessandro in the video below:

Vito and Alessandro are both baritones who often play comic “basso buffo” roles in bel canto operas. But, not all buffo roles are the same — especially in Rossini. In the video below, the baritones explain the differences between two kinds of basso buffo roles in Rossini's operas:

When we think of Rossini and other bel canto composers, we might think first of vocal fireworks in the solo arias. But, Rossini wouldn't be Rossini without some of his thrilling ensembles. In the video below, Vito and Alessandro explain how they maintain order amidst chaos in Rossini's ensembles, which are so full of excitement that they feel almost as if they’re going to explode!

After our conversation, Vito and Alessandro were so excited about the music of Rossini that they immediately had to practice some music together. Who can blame them? With music like this, it’s impossible to get enough.

To learn more about Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Cinderella, visit Lyric’s website. To learn more about the artists, visit Vito Priante’s website and Alessandro Corbelli’s Wikipedia page.