Teatro alla Scala

I/13

Il Turco in Italia

[The Turk in Italy]

Dramma buffo in two acts by
FELICE ROMANI  

First performance:
Milan – Teatro alla Scala
14 August 1814

Critical Edition by
MARGARET BENT

FONDAZIONE ROSSINI PESARO 1988

CHARACTERS:
SELIM, a Turkish prince, bass
DONNA FIORILLA, wife of Don Geronio, soprano
DON GERONIO, bass
DON NARCISO, Fiorilla's paramour, tenor
PROSDOCIMO, Poet, an acquaintance of Don Geronio, baritone
ZAIDA, Selim's betrothed, now a gypsy, mezzo-soprano
ALBAZAR, Selim's confidant, now a gypsy, tenor
Mixed chorus of Gypsy men and women, Turks, maskers
Friends of Fiorilla, Gypsies, Turks, maskers, silent

The scene is near Naples in a holiday resort, and in the house of Don Geronio

Instrumentation: 2 Flutes/2 Piccolos, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 1 Trombone, Timpani, Bass Drum, Strings, Continuo
Performance time: 2h

One of Rossini's most carefully constructed operas, Il Turco in Italia shows particularly the influence of Cosė fan tutte, which was being produced at the Teatro alla Scala immediately before Turco's premiere. The inspired and constantly amusing score shows Rossini at his comic best. It is largely an ensemble opera, with abundant madcap motion; but the composer frequently steps back and creates moments of extraordinary beauty and sensitivity. Several items in the original version are not by Rossini, and after the the premiere he made a number of changes. The opera later underwent such ravages during subsequent productions as to emerge totally unrecognizable, with completely arbitrary interpolations of sections lifted from other operas by Rossini and those of other composers. Such pastiches were continually reprinted down to our own day.

The critical edition does justice at last to this masterpiece, offering a correct and reliable score, resolving the problems concerning the authenticity of certain sections and including in an appendix the revisions composed by Rossini for a Roman production of 1815.

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