Gioachino Rossini: Armida

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Charles S. Brauner, Patyricia B. Brauner (1997)

Two-volume score pp. L, 1235 + critical commentary pp. 181
GR 19
Piano vocal score available
CP 138588

Armida was first performed in Naples on 11 November 1817, which was followed by only five performances that season and it was not given again in complete form, but only as Act I plus two ballets. Rossini seems to have collaborated on a version of the opera in two acts that was probably performed in January 1819. According to the reconstruction proposed in the edition, the first act must have been performed without alteration, while the second and the third were in all probability merged into a single act with some changes.

Ten manuscript copies of the score were examined for this edition: the principal source is the autograph score owned by the Fondazione Rossini of Pesaro. The manuscript originally reflected the first performance at the San Carlo of Naples and was completely in Rossini’s hand. During the period from the first performance to the revision in two acts (January 1819), Rossini made some changes to the score. Still later, some sections were taken out. Moreover, most of the keyboard reduction Rossini used to realize the instrumental parts (the so-called “spartitini”) is absent from the manuscript. Unfortunately, many of the “spartitini” have been lost: only one of them remains in the autograph, while some of the others can be traced in a manuscript copy of the autograph preserved in Milan, although they do not appear to be derived from Rossini’s lost originals. For the remaining ones, which do not appear in any other source, the editors have provided for the realization of the necessary parts ex novo.

A complete orchestral score of Armida was never published before the present critical edition, but in the 1820s some piano-vocal scores were printed. The editors examined the editions of Breitkopf & Härtel, Pacini, Carli, and Janet et Cotelle, as well as the vocal score published by Ricordi in 1858. Despite being rather late, the Ricordi edition offers the most complete text of Armida, but it still omits some passages.