Gioachino Rossini: Il viaggio a Reims ossia L’albergo del Giglio d’Oro

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Janet Johnson (1996)

Four-volume score pp. LXXIV, 942 + critical commentary pp. 220
GR 23
Piano vocal score available
CP 133821

Il viaggio a Reims was performed for the first time on June 19, 1825, in the presence of Charles X on the occasion of his coronation. This opera reveals to us a Rossini who not only anticipates the following generation of Italian composers engaged in Paris, but also prepares to face the vast and complex structure of the French grand opéra (Le siège de Corinthe, another opera with a political subject, written once again in collaboration with Balochi, would be performed for the first time less than sixteen months later).

The opera was then reproduced in various adaptations, and with a reduced number of singers and the interpolation of some pieces in 1848 under the title Andremo a Parigi? and in 1854 as Un viaggio a Vienna. After 1854 this opera definitely vanished from the stage. The only piece of music to bear its name was a so-called “Gran Sinfonia”, assembled much later together with various dances from Le siège de Corinth. Excepting the air de danse added to Le siège de Corinthe, the only authentic work where Rossini reused the material of Il viaggio a Reims is Le Comte Ory, staged in 1828.

The critical edition was carried out on the basis of various sources stemming from its many representations, gathered at the Bibliothèque National de Paris, at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Vienna.

The main problem for the accomplishment of this edition was the lack of autograph material for about half of the opera’s music. This made it necessary to gather material from sources that incorporate later revisions of this music.

On August 18, 1984, a preliminary version of this critical edition was staged under the direction of Claudio Abbado in a production by Luca Ronconi and Gae Aulenti. On that occasion it could be seen that despite a large number of roles, none of the which is particularly big, Il viaggio a Reims is an opera that can easily be staged even with singers of no great experience.

The research on the text of the opera continued even after 1984. The most evident lacuna of the preliminary edition was repaired when Philip Gossett recognised the Choir of the Finale (n.9) “L’allegria è un sommo bene”, as the parody of a choir from Maometto II.

The critical edition reconstitutes the original conception of the opera, restoring the order of the pieces and eliminating spurious parts, like the Sinfonia, which for long circulated under the title of this opera. Moreover, the editor reconstructed the “Gran Pezzo Concertato” (n.7), adapted for Le comte Ory and subsequently revised in different manners for both the derived operas (Andremo a Parigi? and Un viaggio a Vienna).