The South Birmingham Sinfonia performed this overture as part of the Summer 2013 series of concerts.
This is an exciting an challenging work. Rienzi is an early opera by Wagner (his third) and very much influenced by and in the style of Meyerbeer. Tuneful and light, and with brilliant brass playing, it is a long way from the sound of the "Ring". It wil be fascinating to hear some of the more unexpected origins of Wagner's later more mature style.
As an aside, but hopefully of interest, and just to show how far from the kind of Wagner offering we are used to is Rienzi is, your web editor was reading "Confessions of a young man" by George Moore (published 1888) in which he compares some of Mallarmé's poetry, especially the early piece that was to be later made famous by Debussy called "L'Après Midi d'un Faun." Moore thinks it is apt to point out that "L'Après Midi" could not be more different to Mallarmé's later style, saying "It bears the same relation to the author's later work as Rienzi to The Walkyrie." Clearly both operas were well-known at the time, and Rienzi was popular but Die Walküre particularly notorious. SBS will be playing the lesser-known popular work in this concert.
See also Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rienzi.