CIAO's Rossini critical edition wins "Best Edition 2015" prize

New edition by Damien Colas and the Center for Italian Opera Studies gains laurels in Bärenreiter-Verlag’s magisterial critical edition, restores the opera to its original glory

The Center for Italian Opera Studies at the University of Chicago announces that its new critical edition of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory received the “Best Edition 2015” prize from the German Music Publishers Association at this month’s Frankfurt Music Fair. Issued in December, 2014, the edition by French scholar Damien Colas is the product of years of scholarly sleuthing.

Damien Colas, editor

In its prize citation for this “great scientific undertaking,” the jury declared, “As part of the critical edition of Rossini’s works under the direction of Philip Gossett, Damien Colas has now issued the long-overdue reconstruction of the original material in an elaborate new edition, which has already been tested for its stage-worthiness by the Zurich Opera House in 2011. Based on contemporary sources (only fragments of the autograph score have survived) the score was corrected and supplemented with previously missing material; sketches and variations are published in the appendix.” In addition to the quality of its scholarship and importance as a project, the score was judged on the excellence of its design, typography, and binding.

This “new” Comte Ory supplants the only previously available score, a flawed nineteenth-century publication by Eugène Troupenas. Disfigured by cuts to the music and the performing forces, the Troupenas edition was meant to make the opera more affordable to produce at smaller regional theaters.

Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in the University of Chicago’s Department of Music, thinks that audiences will be especially delighted to hear the opera’s finale performed in full for the first time since 1828. “We always felt that the Troupenas finale was too abrupt. Thanks to our friends in the conservation department of the Bibliothèque-musée de l’Opéra, we were able to recover an additional 66 measures of music from the actual orchestra and chorus parts. The original music had been crossed out or pasted over, and sometimes the pages were sewn together. They took apart everything to allow us to see what lay underneath.”

In a first for Works of Gioachino Rossini (WGR), the historical introduction is presented in French, along with WGR’s customary English and Italian. At a price of 992 Euros, the weighty two-volume score will likely make its way into academic libraries, which purchase the series at a discount. Opera houses can rent the score and performing parts from Bärenreiter, and for budget-minded conductors and performers, a paper-back study score and a piano-vocal edition will be issued later in 2015. The piano-vocal score will also have a singable English translation. Other collaborators on the volume were Patricia Brauner and Daniela Macchione, managing editors.

WGR also includes Rossini’s “greatest hit,” Il barbiere di Siviglia, along with the Petite Messe solennelle, Chamber Music without Piano, and Music for Band. Also scheduled to appear in 2015 is Chamber Vocal Music, edited by Philip Gossett and Daniela Macchione. Click here for more information on the series.


Contact and photos:

The Center for Italian Opera Studies/Centro Italo-Americano for Opera
The University of Chicago
Beth Parker, Coordinator