BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, March 23, 1822:

The Wiener Zeitung of March 27 reports that the freshly-married opera composer and director Rossini arrived in Vienna this day, accompanied by six vocal virtuosos, from Naples. According to Rossini’s biographers, he was greeted with “unprecedentedly feverish enthusiasm” and “near hysteria.” Along with the impresario Domenico Barbaja, the party stays at the imposing hotel Zum Goldenen Ochsen. “Wherever Rossini shows his face in the street, crowds gather and people follow him everywhere,” reported the Wiener Zeitung.

The Rossini Festival for the opera season will begin in three weeks, on April 13th. There is much to do and prepare over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Rossini and his bride are invited to an endless series of balls, concerts and dinners, none of which does prima donna Isabella Colbran’s voice any good.