Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932–1988) was one of those formidable European intellects who, hearing the siren call of the theater, started out as a designer but ended up as a designer-director and veritable auteur of his productions. Things didn’t always pan out (an Aida at Covent Garden in 1986 was a notable fiasco), but when Ponnelle was good, there was no one better. Comic Rossini, like this farce about an Italian girl washed up in Algiers, was a notable specialty. With Nicola Alaimo, Maxim Mironov, and Nicole Lemieux in the principal roles, under the rapier baton of Jean-Christophe Spinosi, this Vienna revival should sparkle like a diamond. —M.G.
Vienna State Opera Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria Get Directions »