L'italiana in Algeri

Jan. 9, 2024, 8 p.m.

Opernhaus Zürich
Falkenstrasse 1
8008 Zürich

What could be better than closing out the old year and ringing in the new one than with a bit of Gioachino Rossini? The cast of this revival of L’italiana in Algeri is sure to make the hearts of Rossini fans beat a little faster: as in the premiere series, Cecilia Bartoli returns to sing the title role, joined by magnificent bass Ildar Abdrazakov as Mustafà and Nicola Alaimo as Taddeo – all of them virtuosic Rossini interpreters of the highest order. Edgardo Rocha, a familiar face at the Opernhaus, will join them in the demanding tenor role of Lindoro. And conductor Gianluca Capuano will serve up the requisite anarchic orchestral turbulence of this work of «organized and complete madness» (Stendhal).
A young Rossini nailed the landing in 1813 with this, his first full-length buffa opera at the Teatro San Benedetto in Venice, setting off a Europe-wide Rossini mania. The story is fully in the tradition of Romantic Exoticism, in this case the so-called «Turkish opera» trend, that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although he has a harem full of women, Mustafà isn’t tempted by any of them. He wants to pair off Elvira, his main wife, with his favorite slave. And he’s also plotting new sexual adventures for himself, hopefully in the form of a fiery Italian woman. There on the horizon, a ship approaches, with his desired prey on board. Her name is Isabella, and she’s looking for Lindoro, her lost lover – who also happens to be Mustafà’s favorite slave. But Isabella knows how to use Mustafà’s fascination to her advantage. As the saying goes, «Make yourself a sheep, and you shall be eaten by the wolf.»
We present this charming L’italiana in Algeri production from stage directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, which first bowed at the Salzburg Pfingstfestspele and debuted in Zurich last season. The production is set in modern Algeria, and turns the opera into a wild multi-cultural comedy.


Kulturstelle contact: Ana Kitanovic email

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