portrait of Rossini


Matilde di Shabran, o sia Bellezza, e Cuor di ferro

[Mathilde di Shabran, or Beauty and Iron Heart]

Melodramma giocoso in two acts by

First performance:
Rome – Teatro Apollo
24 February 1821 

Critical Edition by

[rental only]

CORRADINO, Cuor di ferro, tenor
RAIMONDO LOPEZ, bass, father of
ALIPRANDO, physician, baritone
ISIDORO, poet, basso buffo
CONTESSA D'ARCO, mezzo-soprano
GINARDO, keeper of the tower, bass
EGOLDO, leader of the peasants, tenor
RODRIGO, leader of the guards, tenor
UDOLFO, jailer, silent
Male chorus of guards and peasants
Peasant women, silent

The scene is in Spain, in the castle of Corradino and its surroundings

Instrumentation: 2 Flutes/Piccolo, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Timpani, Bass Drum, Triangle, Strings, Continuo
Performance time:

Matilde di Shabran, Rossini's last commission for Rome, is his last opera in the semiseria genre. For this complex and demanding score, whose genesis was marked by unusual haste and time pressure even for Rossini, the composer adapted some music from his earlier Eduardo e Cristina and Ricciardo e Zoraide. In addition, three numbers in the second act were supplied by his colleague Giovanni Pacini, who probably also composed the secco recitative. When Matilde di Shabran was revived in Naples in November, 1821, Rossini replaced the Pacini compositions and the most important borrowed numbers with newly composed pieces and rewrote the part of Isidoro in Neapolitan dialect. The opera became immensely popular, and justly so. Its large scale, with predominant use of ensemble numbers, embraces vivacious and brilliant music, revealing an aspect of Rossini's genius that came to fruition in Il viaggio a Reims in 1825.

The version of the critical edition currently available for rental is the Neapolitan revision, containing only musical numbers by Rossini (no recitatives from either version survive in the autograph score; they are reconstructed from manuscript copies). When the printed volume becomes available, it will provide in an appendix the music of the first performance.

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