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RossiniHis Life and Works$
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Richard Osborne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181296.001.0001

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L’italiana in Algeri:

L’italiana in Algeri:

Formal Mastery in the Comic Style

(p.207) Chapter Twenty-Three L’italiana in Algeri:

Richard Osborne

Oxford University Press

Produced in Venice in May 1813 to a libretto by Angelo Anelli previously used by Luigi Mosca, L’italiana in Algeri was the first full manifestation of Gioachino Rossini’s comic genius. Stendhal (Henry Beyle) thought it “perfection in the opera buffa style.” It was, he argued, an opera so rich in enchantment and sensual delight that critical judgment is actively suspended, a work of pure escapism “gay as our world is not.” This last point is an interesting one which might well be both sustained and contradicted by something like the great act I finale, where the characters are nonplussed and frozen in time before being released into a rising tide (the image of shipwreck is in the text) of rhythm and melody which finally engulfs them.

Keywords:   Venice, libretto, Angelo Anelli, Luigi Mosca, Gioachino Rossini, Stendhal, opera, escapism

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