Gioachino Rossini: Guillaume Tell

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Elizabeth Bartlet (1994)

Four-volume score pp. LXXXIV, 2050 + two-volume critical commentary pp. 253 / 324
GR 11
Piano vocal score available
CP 136255

Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell to a libretto by E. De Jouy H. Bis first went on stage at the Académie Royal de Musique in Paris on 3 August 1829. According to the custom prevailing in Paris, the process of staging a French opera entailed making changes and revisions on the basis of the rehearsals and even in response to the reaction of the public and critics to the première and the initial performances. In general, by the end of the first season the opera was in a version close to what the authors and the theatre considered the best possible compromise between artistic and practical demands. In the case of Guillaume Tell the period of revision was short, and apart from a few exceptions all the changes were introduced by Rossini before his departure from Paris for Bologna on 15 August 1829.

The critical edition publishes in the principal text all the pieces present in the “final” version of 14 August 1829 (the last performance overseen personally by Rossini) but in their original form, indicating with standard signs («Vi-» «-de») and footnotes all those sections that Rossini marked to be cut in the course of the rehearsals and the initial performances of the opera (it is possible, then, to stage the “final” version of 14 August 1829 omitting all these sections)

Emending errors and inconsistencies in the sources, the critical edition provides in the historical introduction and the critical commentary an extensive and detailed investigation into the versions of the opera on which the composer worked. This examination not only makes it possible for the reader/interpreter to find his bearings in the history of Guillaume Tell but it also constitutes an indispensable guide to the practical and performance choices involved in any future staging of the opera.

Appendixes contain all the materials necessary to perform the opera in its original form (before the beginning of the rehearsals) and in the form that actually went on stage on 3 August 1829, the day of the première of the opera. Moreover, they provide the pieces Rossini prepared for a revival in Paris in 1831 in which the opera was reduced to only three acts and the ‘New Finale’ of Act 4 prepared by Rossini in view of the revival of the opera in Bologna in 1840.

A supplementary volume contains a transcription of the libretto of the mise-en-scène prepared on the occasion of the first performance of Guillaume Tell, the original version of the libretto of the opera and a rhythmic Italian version (prepared by Luigi Balocchi under the supervision of Rossini) as an alternative to that of the performance tradition.