Gioachino Rossini: Eduardo e Cristina

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Andrea Malnati and Alice Tavilla (2023)

Critical Edition | GR 50

Eduardo e Cristina was long considered nothing more than a pasticcio of pre-existing music assembled by Rossini in the spring of 1819, with the sole aim of honoring a contract with Venice’s Teatro di San Benedetto, signed a year earlier, which for Rossini had become burdensome. For years, the presumed lack of originality conditioned assessments of the opera, and, as a result, besides the performances in Pesaro in August 2023, in recent times it has only been performed twice (in scenic form only once) – at the 1997 and 2017 editions of the Rossini Festival in Wildbad.

A study of witnesses’ testimony has provided a greater understanding of Rossini’s commitment to the creation of Eduardo e Cristina. Although it does make use of pre-existing scores, the opera as a whole should be considered a thoroughly original work, down to its most minute details. In fact, in-depth and exacting revisions were made by Rossini of all borrowed materials, while all-new pieces were composed wherever necessary. Rossini also revamped the orchestration of more than one number, adapted pre-existing vocal parts for Venetian soloists and choruses, and reworked – either lengthening or shortening – the structures of many pages. Far from being a hackneyed pasticcio, mechanically assembled in the hopes of achieving facile success, Eduardo e Cristina is actually a work of masterful originality.

The new critical edition is based on a reconstruction of the version of the opera that debuted in 1819 at Teatro di San Benedetto in Venice.

Following a hugely successful run in Venice, Rossini and Eduardo e Cristina went their separate ways, never to cross paths again. Indeed, no revisions or alternative pieces may be attributed to Rossini. With this in mind, the critical edition provides the following material in two appendices:

  • A recitative fragment for Atlei that is inserted at the conclusion of the Recitativo following Eduardo’s Chorus and Cavatina, most likely borrowed from a longer version of the opera that predated the debut in Venice;
  • An aria for Atlei, attributed to Rossini in written testimony included in Répertoire de la Colbran, a collection of manuscripts which once belonged to Isabella Colbran, today housed in the Fonds Edmond Michotte at the Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal in Brussels; this piece as well may date back to a longer version of the opera prior to the debut in Venice.

The critical edition’s comment section also includes transcripts of variations for vocal parts in Scene 4, Cristina and Eduardo’s duet, and Scene 6, with an instrumental recitative and Carlo’s aria, which may be a useful guide for future performances of Eduardo e Cristina.

WP of the critical edition: 11.08.2023 Pesaro, Rossini Opera Festival