Rossini’s comic operas, like The Barber of Seville, are better known than his tragedies though he wrote in fact many more tragedies than comedies. One of them, his last, William Tell, is actually credited with launching the whole age of Grand Opéra. Tancredi is an early work - indeed his first smash hit - and it established his international fame. It has all the youthful verve of the comedies allied to a sure dramatic sense, and several of the arias, including the famous "Di tanti palpiti", are magnificent examples of the sort of virtuoso vocal writing that earns the title ‘bel canto’: ‘beautiful singing’, first and last.
Despite the many tragic operas written by Gioachino Rossin, he is best known for his comedies like The Barber of Seville and Tancredi, which launched him to international prominence. Thomson Smillie provides a brief history of Rossino's life and career before conducting a comprehensive synopsis of Tancredi's plot, which is interspersed with beautiful performances of Rossino's work. David Timson proves a valuable match for Smillie, as he performs his descriptions with a delicate and unassuming grace. There's a lightness and joy to Timson's style that seems to take delight in the wondrous music that abounds in Tancredi: Opera Explained.
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