Gioachino Rossini - L'italiana in Algeri - "Cruda sorte! Amor tiranno!" (Teresa Berganza) (1959)


Out of all Rossini's comic heroines, Isabella would have to be the most assertive, the most charming creation. While other heroines, with possible exception of Matilde, are still characterized by their femininity and they are still very much controlled by the men around them, Isabella is the one who does most of the controlling, making her a most powerful presence in the list of Rossini's heroines. Even her short cavatina is proof to this. Written as a simple succession of cantabile - tempo di mezzo - cabaletta, the piece is so vivacious and so perfect in describing the heroine, that the brevity of it only highlights its' dramatic opportunities. Starting with a furious call of woman who isn't used to being captured by anyone, the cavatina then mellows down as Isabella remembers Lindoro. But the woman soon throws any languishing thoughts to the wind, she is Isabella, after all. Her cabaletta is given to a list of Isabella's womanly weapons, ranging from a sigh to a storm. Teresa Berganza is, perhaps, not the classical tomboyish Isabella we are accustomed to, but her gentle singing and elegant manner are just as welcome. Enjoy :)!

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