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L'italiana in Algeri
Austin Lyric Opera
Javier Abreu – Lindoro
L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) is an operatic dramma giocoso in two acts by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Angelo Anelli, based on his earlier text set by Luigi Mosca. The music is characteristic of Rossini’s style, remarkable for its fusion of sustained, manic energy with elegant, pristine melodies.
Rossini wrote L’italiana in Algeri when he was 21. The opera was composed in either 18 or 27 days, depending on which source one believes (Rossini, not surprisingly, pegged it at 18). Rossini entrusted the composition of the recitatives as well as the aria “Le femmine d’Italia” to an unknown collaborator. The opera is notable for Rossini’s mixing of opera seria style in opera buffa. The overture is widely recorded and performed today, known for its distinct opening of slow, quiet pizzicato basses, leading to a sudden loud burst of sound from the full orchestra. This “surprise” reflects Rossini’s early admiration for Joseph Haydn, whose Symphony No. 94 in G major, “The Surprise Symphony”, is so named for the same shocking, semi-comic affect.