Gioachino Rossini: L’italiana in Algeri

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Azio Corghi (1981)

Two-volume score pp. XLV, 781 + critical commentary pp. 191
GR 02
Study score available
PR 1396
Piano vocal score available
CP 132118

L’italiana in Algeri went on stage for the first time at the Teatro di San Benedetto in Venice on 22 May 1813. On various subsequent occasions (Vicenza 1813, Milan 1814, and Naples 1815) Rossini was involved more or less directly in revivals of the opera for which he composed new pieces in place of the original ones. The critical edition by Azio Corghi gathers together all the music composed by Rossini in the period 1813 – 1815, thus making it possible to perform all the authentic versions known today.

The edition provides in the historical introduction and the critical commentary, in addition to the usual reconstruction of the genesis and performance history of the opera, a detailed description of  the different versions of the opera overseen by the composer. This study is not only an indispensible reference for understanding the history of the Italiana but it also constitutes an essential tool for anyone who plans to stage a version of the opera different to that of the first.

The editor presents in the principal text all the music relating to the first performance of the opera, with the sole exception of No.s 4 and 11 (Isabella’s two cavatine) the original version of which appears not to have been conserved in autograph form. In the principal text, then, the edition publishes the two cavatine in the version that was reworked by the composer himself on the occasion of the 1814 revival in Milan and that is conserved in the autograph manuscript of the opera. In Appendix I, instead, it offers a reconstruction of the original version of No.s 4 and 11 carried out exclusively on the basis of the secondary sources. The differences between the two versions inhere principally to the orchestration of the pieces.

Appendix II contains Isabella’s Recitative and Cavatina «Cimentando i venti e l’onde» (No. 4b) composed by Rossini for the revival in Vicenza in 1813; this music, conceived for Maria Marcolini, has proved highly successful and has appeared quite frequently in the course of the opera’s performance history.

The materials necessary to perform the 1814 Milan version, prepared by Rossini with great care are gathered in Appendix III.

Appendix IV presents Isabella’s Recitative and Aria «Sullo stil de’ viaggiatori» (No. 15a) in place of the original Recitative and Rondò «Pensa alla patria» (No. 15); these are tied to the revival of the opera that took place at the Teatro dei Fiorentini in Naples in September 1815; although the piece is present in just one non-autograph source it seems possible to attribute it to Rossini with a fair degree of confidence.

The editor transcribes in the critical commentary a series of variations and cadenze for Isabella’s Rondò «Pensa alla patria» elaborated by Laura Cinti-Damoreau, a famous interpreter who for many years worked closely with the composer; the edition provides these precious examples as a useful style guide for the realisation of vocal variants.