Opera Appreciation 1 recently did the full opera Rossini "William Tell". It was Rossini's last opera and a real blockbuster, four hours over two DVDs.

We did it over two sessions. Its length and expense explains why it is rarely performed today. No one in the group had ever seen it performed live before. There was a production at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden London last year which was controversial for featuring a naked chorus. Our version was from La Scala and was fully-clothed, had a ballet as was normal for operas performed in Paris in the 19th century. Most people only know of the opera for its famous tune in the overture which, in fact, does not occur again in the full opera. In our version , the scene with William Tell shooting  an apple off his son's head at the orders of the dictatorial Austrian Gessler. is very dramatic. Curiously, Rossini scored the role of the son for a soprano, so we observed William Tell's son as a young woman, one of the many curious conventions of  opera. 

Rob Heath