Rossini would laugh if he knew that people were still performing his opera “Il viaggio a Reims” (“The Journey to Rheims”) nearly two centuries after it was written.
It’s hardly even an opera but more a gala-cum-revue that has a patently flimsy plot (travelers are stuck in hotel, have dinner). It was written for a specific occasion (the coronation of the French king Charles X) and given four performances in 1825 — after which the composer recycled the best of its music in his later comedy “Le Comte d’Ory.”
Reviving it is not unlike bringing back a one-off TV variety show under the guise of serious theater.
“Viaggio,” though, has turned up with some regularity since its first modern production in the 1980s. The Wolf Trap Opera Company brought in a new production by David Gately — its second — Friday night at the Barns. It’s popular for some of the right reasons — it certainly has some catchy music — and some of the wrong ones. Among the latter is the fact that it offers performance opportunities for no fewer than 14 soloists, making it ideal for conservatories and companies, such as Wolf Trap, that work with young singers and want to give opportunities to as many people as possible.