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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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Mosè in Egitto (1818–1819) and Moïse et Pharaon (1827)

Mosè in Egitto (1818–1819) and Moïse et Pharaon (1827)

(p.265) Chapter Thirty-One Mosè in Egitto (1818–1819) and Moïse et Pharaon (1827)

Richard Osborne

Oxford University Press

In its original form, Mosè in Egitto is an Azione Tragico-Sacra, a biblical drama suitable for staging during Lent. As was the custom, Gioachino Rossini and his librettist, Andrea Leone Tottola, made the restriction palatable by grafting a secular narrative onto a sacred one. In this instance the story of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt is joined with Francesco Ringhieri’s 1760 romance L’Osiride. Thus a young Jewish girl, Elcia, falls in love with the Pharaoh’s son, Osiride. Like Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, it is a tale of the tension between love and duty, of disputed homelands, and of the counterpointing of the bonds of family and the bonds of country. For much of its length Mosè in Egitto has a guileless beauty about it, appropriate to the theme of young love and young nationhood, qualities which are not so much sacrificed as choked and smothered in the grandiose revision Rossini prepared for the Paris Opera in 1827.

Keywords:   Azione Tragico-Sacra, Gioachino Rossini, Andrea Leone Tottola, Francesco Ringhieri, Giuseppe Verdi, Aida

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