The opera and music festival ROSSINI IN WILDBAD was founded in 1989 to commemorate a memorable spa stay by Gioachino Rossini in Wildbad in 1856, which probably led to his famous last working period under the title "Les pechés de viellesse" ("Sins of my last age"), which he begun on German paper with the "Musique anodine" for his second wife Olympe Pélissier. She was responsable for the decision to visit Wildbad instead of other, more fashionable spas like Gastein.

Since the end of 1991, the festival has been under the artistic direction of Jochen Schönleber, who later was also bestowed with the title of an Intendant. For a few years the ROSSINI IN WILDBAD festival operated with the second title Das musikalische Sommerfest. For many years now it has been called Belcanto Opera Festival with its second international title. The festival is known worldwide for its new discoveries in the bel canto opera repertoire and for its singer discoveries, which have led to numerous CD and DVD productions of reference character.

The festival is organised by the town of Bad Wildbad. It receives support from the state of Baden-Württemberg and the district of Calw. The main sponsor is AWG in the district of Calw.

Main sponsor of ROSSINI IN WILDBAD

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Important names of the opera scene

The first would be Joyce DiDonato, who recorded "her" role as Cenerentola on CD for the first time in Wildbad, setting new standards. It was probably her first major recording ever. Or the tenors Pavol Brslik, whom we dragged out of the choir as soloist in front of the microphones, and Michael Spyres, who found his destiny here as one of the most unusual singers of our time. Olga Peretyatko, Serena Malfi, Serena Saenz and Sara Blanch also made their debuts in Wildbad, and the football-playing mezzo-soprano Diana Haller, Belcanto Prize winner in 2012 and recent winner of the Manhattan Competition, also has a special relationship with the festival.

Almost all of these singers have in common that they won the International BelCanto Prize within the framework of the BelCanto Academy and thus received some fine-tuning at the in-house training institute. That, too, is part of ROSSINI IN WILDBAD:  legendary professionals  like Raúl Giménez, Lorenzo Regazzo or Stefania Bonfadelli are happy to pass on their experience to the youngsters. Experienced artists with great careers perform alongside the young ones. And that brings us to the conductors: some of the best and most experienced conductors of the bel canto repertoire conduct with us. Alberto Zedda and Gianluigi Gelmetti were frequent guests, music director Antonino Fogliani has conducted more Rossini CDs than perhaps anyone else. José Miguel Pérez Sierra as second man is only inferior in years. They are immortalised on numerous CDs and DVDs.