Rossini La Scala di seta
The Silken Ladder (1812) is early Rossini, composed when he was just 20, yet already a rising star on the Italian opera scene. The plot concerns a secret marriage. Giulia’s guardian Dormont is determined that she should marry Blansac, little suspecting that she is already married to Blansac’s friend Dorvil – an arrangement the couple prefer to hide; Dorvil is nevertheless admitted to Giulia’s room every night by means of a ladder made of silk. Meanwhile Giulia decides that Blansac would make a good match for her cousin Lucilla, and decides to set them up. And servant Germano is innocently co-opted to aid both of these schemes.
It’s a good-natured, lightweight, one-act farce, though split up here by the addition of an extra aria by Rossini (provenance otherwise unknown), sung by Carlo Lepore, placed in the middle of the big central ensemble. That’s not such a good idea – the piece doesn’t need another number – but otherwise things go well in this 2009 Pesaro Festival production.
Claudio Scimone waves his baton to excellent effect from the popular overture onwards. Damiano Michieletto’s staging brings us up to date, setting the piece in a smart contemporary apartment. The cast is uniformly good. With her film-star looks and shiny top register, Olga Peretyatko has a lot of fun as Giulia, Carlo Lepore shows off as the vacuous Blansac, José Manuel Zapata makes an engaging Dorvil, and Paolo Bordogna proves an expert clown in the buffo role of Germano. There’s also a 20-minute film on the creation of the production.