Teatro La Fenice in Venezia (Venice) is bragging that the kick-off of their 2007 season is going to be something quite spectacular, but they indeed have reason. La Prima, staged for Sunday, January 14, has been selected as Giacomo Meyerbeer's Il Crociato in Egitto (The Crusader in Egypt), which hasn't been brought to the stage in modern times since its initial la prima on March 7, 1824, and was last seen performed in Venice eleven years later in 1835. It was initially met with great success, and proved to be the paradigm of many revivals through the 1860s, including a popular 1825 production at Théâtre des Italiens in Paris, where Gioacchino Rossini was managing at the time.
"In this production, the role of Armando d’Orville, the crusader, written in Venice for the castrato Giovanni Battista Velluti, but ever since its Parisian revival in 1825 (when it was sung by Giuditta Pasta) usually given to a female voice dressed as a man, will be performed by the countertenors Michael Maniaci and Florin Cezar Ouatu."
Patrizia Ciofi will be singing the role of Palmide, and it will be conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.