Gioachino Rossini - Il turco in Italia - Ouverture (Neville Marriner
  • Classical music composed by Gioachino Rossini I am returning, after quite a bit of time, to my comedic collection with excepts from one of Rossini's most "Shakespearean" comedies, "Il turco in Italia". "Il turco" was commissioned by the famed La Scala for the autumn season of 1814. Although only 22 at the time of composition, Gioachino Rossini had already reached great esteem as an operatic composer (having scored hits with several opere buffe as well as grander, more serious works, such as "Tancredi"), and the success of his "L'italiana in Algeri" the year before spurred him to write a companion piece. Although the two cannot be considered sequels in the literal sense, the similarities are obvious: in "L'italiana", amorous intrigues surround an Italian woman stranded in Algiers, while in "Il turco", a Turk arrives in Italy only to add himself to an existing love triangle (making a love quadrangle, perhaps?). Unfortunately for Rossini, the Milanese public was all too aware of these similarities and, although Rossini's score was every bit as fresh and inventive and his characterizations as well-drawn as those for "L'italiana", they heartily disapproved. However, the quality of the score would eventually carry the day and, as Stendhal wrote in his biography of Rossini, the opera was revived just four years later to wild enthusiasm. In short, the opera involves the Pirandello-like theme of an author in search of six characters: here, the capricious married woman, Fiorilla (soprano); her buffoonish but sincere husband ...

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