Gioachino Rossini: La scala di seta

Rossini Critical Edition

Edited by Anders Wiklund (1991)

One-volume score pp. XXXIII, 487 + critical commentary pp. 85
GR 10
Piano vocal score available
CP 134555

La scala di seta is the third of five farces that Rossini wrote for the Teatro San Moisè in Venice between 1810 and 1813. It went on stage on 9th May 1812. The critical edition provides as the base text of the opera the version contained in the autograph score, a manuscript which for a long period was thought lost. Instead, it was located in the collection of the Swedish arts patron Rudolph Nydhal and is held today in the Stiftelsen Musikkulturens främjande in Stockholm together with other Rossini autographs. The autograph score includes all the music Rossini composed for the opera, including the dry recitatives that were entirely written by the composer.

Two manuscript copies, held today in Paris, in the Bibliothéque Nationale de France, and in Washington, in the Library of Congress, have proved particularly important in the resolution of a number of doubts arising out of the reading of the autograph. These were prepared by the copyist Zamboni in Venice, the official copyist to the theatre, and for this reason can reliably be considered to be close to the autograph.

As for the libretto, the edition adopts the autograph score as the principal source. Where this score is incomplete or patently wrong, the edition relies on the printed libretto published on the occasion of the first performance. All the discrepancies between the two texts are presented and discussed in the critical commentary. The printed libretto also provides the numbering of the scenes that in the autograph are wrong due to oversights by Rossini.

The preface to the score offers a detailed reconstruction of the compositional process of the opera, an analysis of the sources of the libretto and a close examination of the history of the opera from its first performances in Venice to its most important revivals in the 20th century.