Venice and Vienna – two focal points of European culture. Venice and Vienna – two towns that play a major role in the life of the Italian composer Antonio Salieri, the famous counterpart of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna. Who would write the better operas? The established master from Venice or the ambitious young man from Salzburg? Who would win and keep the favour of the Emperor? Whose name will last and whose name will be forgotten? One is tempted to say that Mozart gained the upper hand, but that would not be true. Salieri has precisely not been forgotten, because Mozart, his most fierce competitor, became so popular.
Cinderella lost one of her shoes at the ball, right? And the young prince, supposed to marry her, found her through the matching shoe on Cinderella’s foot. That’s the story as it has been told to us. So why did the librettist Jacopo Ferretti of this opera drop the shoe and let the prince find and recognize Cinderella through her bracelet? Mystery. Perhaps because this opera was written in a matter of days. It took Ferretti 22 days to complete the libretto while the composer, Gioacino Rossini, composed the music in 24 days. It all happened in 1816.
Since the Cross-Eyed Pianist aka Fran Wilson is debating tonight with guest speakers Jessica Duchen, Dr Mark Berry, Mary Nguyen and Simon Brackenborough the role of journalism as a mediator between arts and the general public today, I thought that – being a former journalist reborn as a classical music blogger – I might as well add a few thoughts!
Decades ago, around 1985, I possessed a thing called “walkman”. It was the must-have gadget at the time: a small cassette player with earphones. Actually the first wearable device to listen to music. I was so proud of my white Sony WM-22 – later I had a black DD II model, the Rolls-Royce edition in a metal housing. And I listened to Rossini all the time.