Of course he’s famous for his operas, but Gioachino Rossini retired from that hurlyburly after writing 29 of them, at age 37. he spent the rest of his 76 years having, among other things, fun with other musical forms.
So, to help wish him a happy 22o, here are three of my favourite bits of later Rossiniana. As you can hear, the man took himself out of opera, but no one could take opera out of the man:
1. The “Kyrie” from the fabulously silly Petite Messe Solenelle, performed here by a choir in Livorno, Italy, in 2009:
2. “Ouf! Les petits pois,” one of his “Sins of Old Age,” neatly played by a friend, Italian pianist Alessandro Marangoni:
3. The priceless “Chanson du bébé” (followed, unfortunately, by “La Lontananza”), sung by Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda (who will, fates willing, be turning 87 in July), accompanied by Natascia Kersevan at a recital in Trieste in 1990: