Shea Owens

"His vocal quality is stunning, with all the richness of a well-rounded baritone voice but with a striking brightness that thrills, particularly in his upper range."

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La pietra del paragone (The Touchstone)


  • Wolf Trap Opera 1635 Trap Road Vienna, VA, 22182 United States (map)

Touchstone (noun):
1. a piece of fine-grained stone used to test the purity of gold
2. a test or criterion for determining the genuineness of a thing

In this sparkling Rossini comedy, a wealthy man devises a test to separate his true friends from those who love him only for his money.

Although “touchstone” is no longer regularly used in the English language, it is still alive in an Italian proverb that forms the basis of this sparkling comic opera. They say “Men have a touchstone to test gold, but gold is really the touchstone to test men.” (“L’uomo ha la pietra di paragone per saggiare l’oro, ma l’oro è la pietra di paragone per saggiare gli uomini.”

No other opera of Rossini has been so highly praised in the literature of the subject and yet so seldom performed as La pietra del paragone. This being his seventh opera, it was his first truly great opera buffa. It catapulted the composer into international fame. In Italy, the fact that it premiered at the nation's foremost opera house, La Scala in Milan, assured that Rossini would become the leading opera composer among all other rivals in the field. Rossini was only twenty years old at the time. (WWUH Radio)

Mr. Owens will perform the role of Pacuvio. For tickets and more information, please click here.