OPERA: L'Italiana in Algeri (Teatro Comunale di Bologna)

Country of Origin:
Year: 0000
Language: Italian with English subtitles
Director: Francesco Esposito
Cast: Marianna Pizzolato, Edgardo Rocha


Giacomo Rossini wrote L'Italiana in Algeri in only 18 days when he was 21 years old - and now, almost 200 years later, audiences still thrill at both the manic energy and elegant melodies that make it a masterpiece. This light-hearted production from the Teatro Comunale di Bologona stars Anna Maria Sarra as the broken-hearted Elvira, Michele Pertusi as the lecherous Mustafa, Edgardo Rocha as the devoted Lindoro, and Marianna Pizzolato as the smart and resourceful Italian girl of the title.


ACT I. In Algiers, at the palace of the bey Mustafa, his wife Elvira complains that her husband doesn't love her anymore. Mustafa wishes to marry/sell Elvira to one of his courtiers - a young kidnapped Italian named Lindoro - so that he can pursue other women. He orders Haly to find him a good Italian girl. Lindoro longs for his beloved Isabella, but Mustafa tries to persuade him to take Elvira. Meanwhile, a shipwreck casts Isabella and her aging admirer, Taddeo, into the hands of Haly's pirates. Taddeo pretends to be her uncle to avoid capture. Back at the palace, Elvira's slave Zulma tries to convince Lindoro and Elvira that their case is hopeless and they should simply get married. Lindoro is resigned but agrees, as the wedding will allow him to return to Italy. Elvira, who still loves her husband, doesn't want to leave. Isabella is welcomed to the hall, and Mustafa is infatuated. Isabella and Lindoro spot each other, and Isabella demands that Lindoro and Elvira stay at the palace as servants.

ACT 2. Elvira still hopes to regain her husband's love, even as she watches Mustafa pad into Isabella's room. Isabella comes rushing out, though, angry with Lindoro for agreeing to marry Elvira. Lindoro assures her of his love, and they embrace. Mustafa forces Taddeo to be his personal bodyguard and to help him win Isabella's affections. Meanwhile, Isabella advises Elvira to be more assertive to keep her husband'™s interest. She realizes that Mustafa can overhear them, and so keeps him waiting by singing a song. Finally she allows him to enter. Mustafa sneezes, which was the signal for Taddeo to leave, but he doesn't. Isabella asks Elvira to stay and have coffee with them, which infuriates Mustafa. He runs into Lindoro in the hall, who assures him that Isabella does actually have affections for him - but he must prove his worth to her by entering the Italian order of Papptaci. To do so, he must eat, drink, and sleep all he likes, oblivious to all around him. Aside, Haly and Zulma wonder at his plan. In her chamber, Isabella readies a feast for Mustafa. As he eats it, Isabella and Lindoro first mock him, and then sneak away. Lesson learned, Mustafa takes Elvira back.

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