Rossini in the Kitchen (2005)
Comic Monodrama in One Act
Tenor and Piano
Libretto by Mark Schweizer
Frank Napolitano, tenor; Fenton Groden, piano
Duration: 12 min.
Dedication: for Frank Napolitano
Commission: Commissioned by Frank Napolitano
Publisher: Musik Fabrik
Performance materials available from the publisher.
Rossini in the Kitchen (2005) is a comic staged monodrama for tenor and piano. It was composed for and is dedicated to Frank Napolitano.
The work imagines the Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) in his later years in Paris. After his rather young retirement at age 37, Rossini wrote no more opera and instead led a life of leisure and luxury, pursuing his great love of gourmet cooking.
Although Rossini was from the northernmost regions of Italy, known for their elegant French-influenced cuisine, the recipes in this work are familiar “Tuscan style” Italian fare. It is assumed that Rossini would perhaps have enjoyed these dishes as well and made them as a nod to his native country, whose national musical style he had so impacted with his compositional work.
The musical language of this work is ecletic, drawing upon the common practice language of Rossini’s time, distorted and amplified through more contemporary sounds and textures. Some of the contemporary sounds and textures are derived from popular music traditions of the second half of the 20th century. Since, like more modern popular music, Rossini’s own work was some of the most popular and widely known music of its time. His tunes were whistled by people in the streets, in the same way that today’s pop songs are.
Thus, the musical language of the work sometimes switches abruptly or transforms from one style into another. There are numerous allusions to Rossini’s own music as well as that of other later opera composers who were indebted to him.