Simon Phillips' entertaining production of The Turk in Italy gives Rossini's comedy plenty of sparkle.
Lived 1792 – 1868Mostly in Italy, ParisBest Known For The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, Semiramide, William Tell, La Danza, Stabat MaterSimilar To Donizetti, Bellini It was the French writer Stendhal – a convert to the cause of Italian culture in general, and its operatic tradition in particular – who compared Rossini to Napoleon. This was at a time when his works were conquering audiences throughout Europe in the same way that the French emperor and his armies were taking over continental kingdom after kingdom. Rossini’s increasing sway over the opera houses of Europe was a good deal more peaceable in its progress, though equally effective and arguably longer lasting in its impact. Following his mopping up of the Italian peninsula – then a collection of independent states, small and large – his works moved on to the great international operatic centres, and eventually so did he, visiting and supervising seasons of his works in Vienna, Paris and London before settling into the French capital in 1825 to enjoy there his final theatrical triumphs. Then, in what is one of the mysteries of Rossini’s career, in 1829 he retired from operatic composition following the production of his largest opera, William Tell – a