L’italiana in Algeri //
Mustafà, the Bey of Algiers, is fed up with his first wife Elvira and wants an Italian lover because he’s heard such exciting things about Italian women. As chance would have it, the beautiful Isabella gets washed up on the shore. After making hilarious but unsuccessful attempts to woo Isabella, who is well-versed in the arts of seduction herself, Mustafá returns to his Elvira in the end. Isabella, on the other hand, encounters her beloved Lindoro at the Bey’s court. They both decide to flee to their homeland by taking advantage of the weakness of the vain Mustafá, cleverly fooling him with the best of tricks. And then there’s Taddeo, a somewhat blundering admirer of Isabella, who displays all the symptoms of infamous jealousy.
In Rossini’s times, Italian audiences enjoyed hearing about the apparent merits of their own culture. And they also shared the composer’s professed love for the temperament of Italian women.
This comedy offered Rossini the opportunity to compose stirring, masterful music, combining passionate melodies, dramatic hymns and stunning fireworks. After the resoundingly enthusiastic reception of the world premiere, he confessed in astonishment: »I thought that after hearing my opera the Venetians would think I was crazy. It turned out, though, that they’re even crazier than I.«
Despite our vanities and weaknesses, what makes us »loving creatures«? We shall see whether Rossini’s opera can provide an answer to this question …
Director Tobias Kratzer produced »Lohengrin« in Weimar, has previously worked in Leipzig, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Nuremberg, Switzerland, France, Sweden and Estonia, and will stage »Tannhäuser« in Bayreuth in 2019.