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Fever, intoxication, stagger, delirium - these words have since been used to describe the effect that Rossini and his wife Isabella Colbran triggered with various performances in Vienna, in 1822.

One can vividly imagine that some music addicts at the time were in the same mood as the characters in Finale I of Rossini's Italiana in Algeri: completely overexcited and gaga, chattering away to the point of exhaustion. In general, the ensemble scenes in Rossini's comedies are highly virtuoso comic strips, more than 120 years before Walt Disney.

The Rossini recordings of the Spaniard Conchita Supervia enjoy cult status. The vitality of her singing (combined with the almost baritonal sonority of her depth) has acted as a mood-lifter for generations. A British journalist went so far as to say: »If you are in a serious depression and think about committing suicide: STOP! And listen to her recordings first!«

With the unfounded enthusiasm that Rossini generated with his comedies, the »serious« operas - with the exception of his masterpiece Giullaume Tell - were neglected for a long time. In recent decades, two singers in particular have caused a worldwide sensation in both genres - opera buffa and opera seria: Marilyn Horne and Cecilia Bartoli. The fact that the Rossini renaissance has also produced highly virtuoso tenors in more recent times is shown by the recordings of Juan Diego Florez and Michele Angelini as well as the recently released duet album by Michael Spyres and Lawrence Bronwnlee.

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