Rossini in Wildbad



by Alex Suciu
August 21, 2023
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In the middle of the Black Forest in Germany there is a beautiful, historical village known for its thermal-water wellness resorts. Besides being visited for its relaxation and medical purposes, people come here every summer for the Rossini in Wildbad, Belcanto Opera Festival. It spans a history of 34 years, and although it is a small festival compared to others, it has established itself as one of the classical music jewels in the world of opera. Why Rossini? The story tells that in 1856, the composer Gioachino Rossini spent, together with friends, several weeks in this idyllic place, a journey that rekindled his compositional interest.

This year’s Rossini in Wildbad festival was, as always, a spectacular blend of successful well-known operas paired with delightful discoveries. Over the course of 10 days, there were no less than 15 representations of different operatic and non-operatic pieces. They included Il Barbiere di Siviglia, conducted by maestro Antonino Fogliani, and starring  John Chest as Figaro, Teresa Iervolino as Rosina, Fabio Capitanucci as Don Bartolo, César Cortés as Conte Almaviva, and Shi Zhong as Don Basilio, and Il signor Bruschino, directed by José Miguel Pérez-Sierra, with Emmanuele Franco in the title role, Eleonora Bellocci as as Sofia, Giorgio Caoduro as Gaudenzio Strappapuppole, and Hyunduk Kim as Florville, as the know operas. Both operas were directed by maestro Jochen Schönleber, who is also the manager of the festival. The “discoveries” were Il vero omaggio by Rossini with Teresa Iervolino, Giorgio Misseri, Michele Angelini, Roberto Lorenzi  e Sofia Mchedlishvili in the cast, and Gli arabi nelle gallie by Pacini with Serena Farnocchia, Diana  Haller, Michele Angelini, Roberto Lorenzi in the main roles.

The festival makes use of its beautiful placing/ambient and, apart from the beautiful Kurtheater, brings opera shows,  concerts, and recitals to unconventional venues. Such a concert is the one held at the Baumwipfelpfad.  This concert – by now a tradition – is held literally in a spiraling tower which has a 360 degree panorama of the Black Forest, or the Waldkonzert, which is held in the “Wald”, in the forest.

The festival also emphasizes the importance of new talent. Its Akademie has had singers the likes of Michael Spyres and Olga Peretyatko as students throughout the years. As per usual, the ones involved with the Akademie were not only part of two sold-out concerts in the Kurtheater, but were also included in the productions of the different operas presented. 

Rossini in Wildbad sits in the middle of the Black Forest as a landmark in the world of opera, combining artistic quality with the pleasure of being in a wonderfully relaxing place, Bad Wildbad. We talked to Jochen Schönleber, the manager of the festival, as well as with maestro Antonino Fogliani about the festival and its inner workings.


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Alice Lechner
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We continue our Theaters around the World column, and in this issue, we arrive in Sicily, more precisely in Palermo. It is known that Teatro Massimo di Palermo was, for a long time, the third largest opera house in Europe, after Palais Garnier and Wiener Staatsoper. The construction of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily,...
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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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