Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Rossini, Gioachino (Antonio)locked

  • Philip Gossett

(b Pesaro, Feb 29, 1792; d Passy, Nov 13, 1868). Italian composer. No composer in the first half of the 19th century enjoyed the measure of prestige, wealth, popular acclaim or artistic influence that belonged to Rossini. His contemporaries recognized him as the greatest Italian composer of his time. His achievements cast into oblivion the operatic world of Cimarosa and Paisiello, creating new standards against which other composers were to be judged. That both Bellini and Donizetti carved out personal styles is undeniable; but they worked under Rossini's shadow, and their artistic personalities emerged in confrontation with his operas. Not until the advent of Verdi was Rossini replaced at the centre of Italian operatic life.

1. Early years.

Rossini was born in Pesaro, a small city on the Adriatic in the region known as the Marches. His immediate paternal ancestors can be traced in Lugo, while his mother's family came from Urbino. Both his parents were musicians. Giuseppe Antonio Rossini was a horn player of some ability, having preceded his son into membership in the Bologna Accademia Filarmonica in 1801. During his early career he performed in military bands and served the ceremonial function of public trombetta, the position he obtained in Pesaro when he took up residence there in 1790. The building into which he moved also housed the Guidarini family, whose daughter Anna he married on 26 September 1791.

Rossini's earliest years, spent in Pesaro, were not peaceful. The Napoleonic wars, bringing with them French and papal soldiers in confusing alternation, were particularly hard on Giuseppe, whose vociferous enthusiasm for the cause of liberty displeased the papal authorities and resulted in his brief imprisonment in 1800. Memories of his father's misadventures (his lively prescence earned him the name ‘Vivazza’) may have dampened Gioachino's enthusiasm for Italian nationalism later in his life.

By 1800, however, the family had entered energetically into the theatrical life of the period. During the carnival season of 1798, Anna was seconda donna in a theatre at Ancona; by the next year's carnival season in Ferrara she had become a prima donna, and performed until the summer of 1808 in cities such as Bologna, Iesi, Lugo, Fano, Imola, Reggio nell’Emilia and Rovigo. Giuseppe, too, was active as a performer and even tried his hand as an impresario. The young Rossini soon began joining his parents on these tours. We find his name for the first time in Fano, during the carnival season of 1801, where he is listed as playing the viola in the orchestra.

By the time the family moved to Lugo in 1802, Rossini's father was teaching him to play the horn, while a local canon, Giuseppe Malerbi, whose musical knowledge and fine collection of scores seem to have exercised a generally beneficent influence on the child's musical taste, instructed him in singing. Under Malerbi's direction Rossini began studying composition, and he wrote a considerable number of sacred pieces. Although Malerbi freely corrected these early efforts of his pupil and often replaced Rossini's name with his own on the autograph manuscripts, there is no question about their authorship: these early efforts already show stylistic elements that can be found throughout the decade in the student works of Rossini.

During this period the Rossinis came to know a wealthy businessman in Ravenna, Agostino Triossi, and in 1804 they were summer guests at his nearby villa at Conventello. On this occasion the young composer wrote his six sonate a quattro. Rossini remained in contact with his ‘friend and patron’ for many years, also composing for him two overtures (the Sinfonia ‘al Conventello’ and the Grand’overtura obbligata a contrabbasso) and a Mass for Ravenna.

By 1804 the family transferred its principal residence to Bologna, a more central location for their burgeoning professional careers and also a city where Rossini could obtain more qualified instruction. As early as 1804 Gioachino had begun to appear professionally as a singer: he organized and participated in an accademia di musica in the Teatro Comunale of Imola on 22 April 1804. His performance as the boy, Adolfo, in Paer's Camilla at the Teatro del Corso in Bologna during the autumn season of 1805 is attested by a libretto printed for the occasion. Other documents show him singing in private concerts. His abilities as a singer were well enough recognized that in June 1806 he followed his father into the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, honoured for his accomplishments as a singer, a singular recognition for so young a man.

In Bologna, Rossini studied music privately with Padre Angelo Tesei. His progress was rapid and by April 1806 he entered the Liceo Musicale. There he followed courses in singing, the cello, piano and, most important, counterpoint under Padre Stanislao Mattei, the director of the Liceo and successor to Padre Martini. Rossini, always an eminently practical man, did not react well to the more esoteric processes of counterpoint. He later reported to his friend Edmond Michotte that Mattei considered him the ‘dishonour of his school’. Nonetheless, Rossini profited enormously from prolonged exposure to more ‘serious’ musical styles than those prevailing in Italian theatres. He devoured the music of Haydn and Mozart, later referring to Mozart as ‘the admiration of my youth, the desperation of my mature years, the consolation of my old age’. His devotion to Haydn was demonstrated by the performance of The Seasons he directed on 10 May 1811 at the Accademia dei Concordi, of which he had become musical director in 1809. Though he culled from Mattei's exercises in strict composition only what could be of direct use to him in a practical career, the sureness of his harmony, clarity of his part-writing (hardly marred by occasional ‘forbidden’ progressions) and precision of his orchestration derive ultimately from this traditional training. During his years at the Liceo Rossini wrote a few instrumental pieces, some sacred music (including a Mass commissioned in 1809 by the cathedral of Rimini) and a cantata, Il pianto d'Armonia sulla morte d'Orfeo, which won a prize at the Liceo and was performed there for an academic convocation on 11 August 1808.

More important, though, Rossini had already begun to work as a maestro al cembalo in local theatres. His first documented activity of this kind took place during the carnival season of 1804 in Ravenna, and similar theatrical activities continued unabated until 1811. On these occasions he sometimes supplied arias for insertion into the operas being performed. The first documented case was in Forlì during the autumn of 1806, when he wrote the aria ‘Cara, voi siete quella’ for the tenor Antonio Chies, to be inserted into L'amor marinaro of Weigl. For another Weigl opera, Il podestà di Chioggia, he composed ‘Dolci aurette’. The work was sung during the carnival season of 1809 in Ferrara by a tenor who became closely associated with Rossini's early career in Venice, Raffaele Monelli. During his last documented season as a maestro al cembalo, at the Teatro del Corso of Bologna during the autumn of 1811, Rossini prepared a coro e cavatina for Maria Marcolini, ‘Viva Roma e Quinto viva’, to be inserted into Domenico Puccini's Il trionfo di Quinto Fabio.

His first opera was commissioned, probably during a visit to Bologna in 1810, by the tenor Domenico Mombelli, who together with his two daughters formed the nucleus of an operatic troupe. As Rossini later told Ferdinand Hiller, Mombelli asked him to set some numbers from a libretto entitled Demetrio e Polibio. Not even knowing the entire plot, he proceeded one number at a time until the entire score was finished. Though this was Rossini's first opera, it was not performed until 1812, after four other works had brought the young composer advance publicity. It is not clear how much of the opera is Rossini's and how much may have been supplied or tampered with by Mombelli; but with it Rossini was fully initiated into the realities of Italian operatic life.

2. First period, 1810–13.

The first decade of the 19th century was a period of transition in Italian opera. The deposited mantles of Cimarosa and Paisiello were unfilled. The Neapolitan buffo tradition was in decline, and the operas of Farinelli or Fioravanti merely repeated its gestures without its substance. Though the conventional world of Metastasian opera seria had dissolved, the future was murky. Composers set heavily revised Metastasian texts, or imitations of them, to music in which typical 18th-century devices were precariously balanced with more progressive features. The simple tonal procedures of older opera seria were inadequate for longer ensembles and elaborate scenas, yet no Italian composer could or would adopt the more sophisticated tonal schemes of Mozart. As librettos turned from classical history to semi-serious subjects, medieval epic, and ultimately Romantic drama, the orchestral forces of the 18th century proved increasingly inadequate. As characters emerged from the cardboard figures of earlier days, melodic lines required more careful delineation, while the indiscriminate improvisation of vocal ornaments became less palatable. As Italian composers such as Paisiello, Cherubini and Spontini travelled to other European capitals, particularly Paris, Italian opera felt the influence of other national schools.

These challenges to a dying tradition drew little response from even the best composers of the decade, Simone Mayr or Ferdinando Paer. Though they brought new orchestral richness to Italian opera and began to construct larger scenic complexes than were found in the post-Metastasian period, they seemed incapable of fusing a new style from the disparate elements demanding their attention. Stendhal, in his forthright manner, found these composers essentially wanting. Mayr was learned, able, ‘the most correct composer’, but only with Rossini did a composer of genius appear. Indeed, for Stendhal, Rossini's very earliest works are his best, with Tancredi an apotheosis of the freshness that illuminates them. One need not follow Stendhal in denigrating Rossini's mature operas in order to recognize the charm of his first operas. Amid the resplendent glories of Guillaume Tell one can still yearn with Stendhal for ‘the freshness of the morning of life’, the spontaneity and sheer melodic beauty of a piece such as the duet ‘Questo cor ti giura amore’ from Demetrio e Polibio.

Rossini's operatic career began in earnest in 1810, with a commission from the Teatro S Moisè of Venice to compose the music for Gaetano Rossi's one-act farsa, La cambiale di matrimonio. According to a student of Giovanni Morandi, cited by Radiciotti, a German composer scheduled to write the opera reneged on his contract. Through the good offices of Morandi and his wife, the singer Rosa Morandi, friends of the Rossinis, the inexperienced Gioachino was approached instead. It was a fortunate opportunity, as he later recalled:

That theatre also made possible a simple début for young composers, as it was for Mayr, Generali, Pavesi, Farinelli, Coccia, etc., and for me too in 1810. … The expenses of the impresario were minimal since, except for a good company of singers (without chorus), they were limited to the expenses for a single set for each farsa, a modest staging, and a few days of rehearsals. From this it is evident that everything tended to facilitate the début of a novice composer, who could, better than in a four- or five-act opera, sufficiently expose his innate fantasy (if heaven had granted it to him) and his technical skill (if he had mastered it).

Five of Rossini's first nine operas were written for the S Moisè.

It was a full year before Rossini's next opera, L'equivoco stravagante, was performed in Bologna on 26 October 1811. The libretto, in which the heroine's poor lover convinces the rich imbecile preferred by her father that the girl is really a eunuch disguised as a woman, was considered in such bad taste that the Bolognese authorities closed the show after three performances. But Rossini had no time to be upset by this fiasco, since the Teatro S Moisè was already awaiting his next farsa. L'inganno felice, which had its Venetian première in January 1812, was Rossini's first truly successful work, remaining popular throughout Italy during the next decade.

Commissions from other theatres followed rapidly. Despite statements from writers north of the Alps about the decadence of Italian music in this period, operatic life was in one sense remarkably healthy. Many important centres existed, and theatres and impresarios sought to outdo one another in obtaining new works, exploring new talent, training new musicians. That there was much bad music composed and performed is undeniable, but a flourishing, lively culture could give a composer the opportunity to come to maturity, and Rossini did not lack for opportunity. His sacred opera Ciro in Babilonia was presented in Ferrara during Lent, followed by yet another work for S Moisè, La scala di seta. The pinnacle of Rossini's first period, though, was the première of his two-act La pietra del paragone, at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 26 September 1812. Just as Verdi, 30 years later, was assisted by Giuseppina Strepponi in obtaining his entrée to La Scala, so Rossini benefited from the recommendations of two singers who had taken part in his earlier operas, Maria Marcolini and Filippo Galli, both of whom were to sing in the cast of La pietra del paragone. The work was an unquestionable triumph. Rossini told Hiller that it earned him exemption from military service. He hurried back to Venice, where he composed two more farse for the Teatro S Moisè, L'occasione fa il ladro and Il signor Bruschino. It is distressing that, 70 years after Radiciotti destroyed the myth of the latter opera's being a jest at the impresario's expense, the story continues to circulate. Il signor Bruschino is one of the best of Rossini's early farse, comic, witty and sentimental by turns. The famous sinfonia, in which the violins occasionally beat out rhythms with their bows against the metal shades of their candle holders or, in modern times, against their music stands, is delightful both for its absurdity and for the totally natural and logical way in which the effect is woven into the composition.

In the 16 months from L'equivoco stravagante to Il signor Bruschino, Rossini composed seven operas. With the sheer press of commitments on him, he often used individual pieces in more than one opera. Though famous examples of self-borrowing are found later in his life, no compositions ever saw such service as two from Demetrio e Polibio, the duet ‘Questo cor ti giura amore’ mentioned above (which reappeared in five later operas) and the quartet ‘Donami omai Siveno’ (about which Stendhal wrote, ‘had Rossini written this quartet alone, Mozart and Cimarosa would have recognized him as their equal’). One can understand, if not wholly respect, the insouciance with which Rossini simplified his task of grinding out so many operas. What is remarkable is how much fine music they contain.

Rossini's farse and La pietra del paragone are superior to his early opere serie. Despite some beautiful moments, Demetrio e Polibio remains colourless, while Ciro in Babilonia, if not the fiasco that Rossini later labelled it, is scarcely distinguishable from the host of pseudo-religious operas prepared yearly for Lent. In the farse and comic operas, however, Rossini's musical personality began to take shape. Formal and melodic characteristics of his mature operas appear only occasionally, but many elements emerge that remain throughout his career. A love of sheer sound, of sharp and effective rhythms, is one of them. Germano's self-congratulatory ‘Quando suona mezzanotte’ in La scala di seta, Pacuvio's aria ‘Ombretta sdegnosa’ in La pietra del paragone, with its babbling ‘Misipìpì, pìpì, pìpì’ that rapidly acquired the status of a folksong, or the younger Bruschino's funereal ‘Son pentito, tito, tito’, proclaim a love for words and their sounds that blossomed in the first finale of L'italiana in Algeri.

Orchestral melodies give the singer scope for buffo declamation. Built almost exclusively in this way is ‘Chi è colei che s'avvicina?’, the aria of the parodied journalist, Macrobio, in La pietra del paragone. But sometimes, especially in these earlier works, the orchestral bustle seems rather faceless. Thus much of the introduction in La cambiale di matrimonio revolves around an orchestral figure (ex.1), over which the pompous Mill attempts unsuccessfully to calculate from a world map the distance from Canada to Europe and then engages in a spirited dialogue with his servants. The same figure recurs in L'inganno felice, during the aria ‘Una voce m'ha colpito’, in which Batone realizes that the woman he thought to have murdered is alive. Rather than being particularly jarring in these diverse situations, the orchestral motif is simply appropriate to neither: its very limitations make it extremely adaptable.

The comic characters in many of these early works are complex and well differentiated. The servant and would-be lover Germano in La scala di seta is both absurd and touching. Don Parmenione in L'occasione fa il ladro is a charlatan and opportunist, but his charm is infectious, and we cheer when he pairs off with Ernestina at the end. In a memorable aria (with a prominent piccolo part) his servant Martino informs us that Parmenione is not rich nor poor, not good nor bad, but simply one of those ‘beings common in society’. In Il signor Bruschino Rossini creates two delightfully contrasting and exaggerated comic characters, Bruschino and Gaudenzio, each driven to distraction by the antics of young lovers and wayward children, but good-hearted and forgiving. Already in these farse Rossini is a master of comic style.

1. Gioachino Rossini: portrait by Thomas Lawrence, chalk, c1824 (private collection)

Edward T. Cone
View large

Alongside the comic elements is the sentimental vein that pervades much of Rossini's opera buffa. Florville's opening solo in the introduction of Il signor Bruschino, ‘Deh! tu m'assisti, amore!’, Isabella's ‘Perché del tuo seno’ in L'inganno felice, or the cavatina of Berenice in L'occasione fa il ladro, ‘Vicino è il momento che sposa sarò’ (ex.2), are all lovely examples. Rossini's vocal lines here are less florid than in his later operas. Although some ornamentation would have been applied by singers, particularly in repeated passages, the style imposes limitations. Isabella in L'inganno felice could hardly sing in the vein of the heroines of Semiramide or Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra. The simplicity and balance of these melodic periods, which avoid the deformations that give Rossini's later melodies such variety, help explain their freshness and appeal. When a singer does break into coloratura, as Berenice in her expansive aria ‘Voi la sposa pretendete’, it normally forms a quasi-independent section before the final cadences, a procedure Rossini abandoned after his earliest operas.

Whereas Rossini grew in stature as a dramatist during his career, he was from the outset a consummate composer of overtures. Though early specimens do not exhibit all the typical characteristics of the more mature works, their appeal is immediate and genuine. Formally they are sonata movements without development sections, usually preceded by a slow introduction with a cantabile melody for oboe, english horn or french horn. The first group is played by the strings, the second group features the wind. The crescendo is part of the second group, though in these early works it is not fully standardized. Within this schema, clear melodies, exuberant rhythms, simple harmonic structure and a superb feeling for sound and balance, together with such splendid details as the wind writing in La scala di seta or the beating bows in Il signor Bruschino, give the overtures their unique character. The qualities that make them unique as a group, though, are also the qualities which make them generic among themselves. Almost all these overtures served for more than one opera. Some of the transferences, as from La pietra del paragone to Tancredi, seem no less incongruous than the infamous vicissitudes of the overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia.

In a famous letter to Tito Ricordi, written in 1868, Rossini chided Boito for attempting innovations too rapidly. ‘Don't think I am declaring war on innovators’, he continued; ‘I am opposed only to doing in one day what can only be achieved in several years … look, with compassion, at Demetrio e Polibio, my first work, and then at Guglielmo Tell: you will see that I was no crayfish!!!’ Still, Rossini's early works have their own considerable charms, and to anyone who has a touch of Stendhal in his blood they remain delightful.

3. From ‘Tancredi’ to ‘La gazza ladra’.

With no effective copyright legislation existing in an Italy of separate states, Rossini's earnings from an opera were limited to performances in which he participated, and payments to a composer did not match those to a prima donna. Obliged to support both himself and, increasingly, his parents, Rossini plunged into one opera after another. The period from Tancredi to La gazza ladra, which intersects with his Neapolitan years, was one of constant travelling and frenetic compositional activity. Entire operas were prepared in a month, and Rossini's masterpiece, Il barbiere di Siviglia, occupied him for about three weeks. During this period he produced his great comic operas, works ranging from pure buffo to sentimental comedy, his more ‘classical’ serious operas, and his finest opera in the semiseria genre.

Relatively little is known of Rossini's life during these years. Anecdotes pertaining to his amorous pursuits and filial devotion abound, but only a few documents provide details. Thanks to the survival in a private collection of an archive of documents preserved by his father, the so-called ‘Vivazza Archive’, we possess at least some personal letters and documents, and they do suggest Rossini's deep attachment to his mother. Most reports stem from later in the century, however, and not even those originating with close friends such as Hiller, Alexis Azevedo or Edmond Michotte can be trusted: so many of the statements they attribute to Rossini are palpably false that one must suspect either that they embroidered his remarks or that he saw his early life and attitudes through the tinted glasses of his old age. One can be certain, however, that Rossini now became the leading Italian composer. His music was played and enthusiastically received almost everywhere.

Rossini's first two operas to win international acclaim were written consecutively for Venetian theatres: Tancredi, the idyllic opera seria,which was given at the Teatro La Fenice on 6 February 1813, and the zaniest of all buffo operas, L'italiana in Algeri, which was produced at the Teatro S Benedetto on 22 May 1813. For later generations the fame of Tancredi appeared to rest on the cavatina ‘Tu che accendi’, with its cabaletta ‘Di tanti palpiti’. One need not invoke the old images of gondoliers singing and juries humming the tune to gauge its appeal. Thanking Tito Ricordi for a New Year's panettone in 1865, Rossini assured him it was worthy of ‘the greatest Publisher (donor) and the author of the too famous cavatina “Di tanti palpiti” (receiver)’. Wagner's parody, the Tailors' Song in Act 3 of Die Meistersinger, is further evidence of its longevity. Rossini's melody seems to capture the melodic beauty and innocence characteristic of Italian opera, while escaping naivety by its enchanting cadential phrase, which instead of resting on the tonic F jumps to the major chord on the flattened third degree A♭ (ex.3). Rossini delighted in such harmonic games, even within the simplest phrase, and their piquancy gives his melodies their special charm.

But Tancredi is more than ‘Di tanti palpiti’. It is Rossini's first great opera seria, and it exhibits the freshness of first maturity, of first formulated principles. There is little in Semiramide whose roots cannot be traced here. Formal procedures in particular, uncertain and tentative in earlier operas, assume the characteristics that were now to dominate Italian opera. It is impossible to prove that Rossini was an innovator here, since so little is known of the music of his contemporaries, but the force of his example was felt strongly by the legions of opera composers after him.

Rossini's formal procedures were compelling because they fused in a simple yet satisfactory manner the urge for lyrical expression and the needs of the drama. Although in Tancredi secco recitative still separates formal musical numbers, many important dramatic events occur within these numbers. There are occasional isolated lyrical moments, such as Amenaide's exquisite ‘No, che il morir non è’ of Act 2, but these play a decreasing role in Rossini's operas as he matured. Instead they are incorporated into larger musical units in alternation with dramatic events which motivate lyrical expression. The formal structure of standard arias, duets and first-act finales demonstrates this in various ways.

The problem of the aria is to permit lyrical expression to predominate without freezing the action. Often, especially in his cavatinas (entrance arias), Rossini composed two successive, separate lyrical sections, an opening cantabile and concluding cabaletta, thus giving the impression of dramatic change even when actual change is slight or non-existent. More normal is the approach taken in Amenaide's ‘Giusto Dio che umile adoro’ of Act 2 of Tancredi. Amenaide is alone on the stage. After a short scena her aria begins with a lyrical solo, a prayer for the victory of her champion. In a section of contrasting tempo and tonality, the chorus enters and describes his victory. Emphatically not lyrical, the music depends instead on orchestral figures, declamatory non-periodic solos and choral interjections. The cabaletta now concludes the aria in its original key. Amenaide contemplates her joy in a lyrical period, first expressively, then in exuberant coloratura. ‘The chorus and other characters immediately applaud’, in the words of Pietro Lichtenthal, a contemporary detractor, ‘and She [Queen Cabaletta], all kindness, returns to content her faithful audience by repeating with the same instrumental plucking the celestial melody.’ Rossini's multi-sectional aria with cabaletta may not be the ideal solution to the problem of the aria, but it permits lyrical sections to co-exist with dramatic action and gives the singer, during the repetition of the cabaletta theme, the flattering option of ornamenting the melody. That the cabaletta was both useful and aesthetically satisfying was perceived by Verdi as late as Aida, when he wrote to Opprandino Arrivabene in reaction to criticism about his use there of a quasi-cabaletta: ‘it has become fashionable to rail against and to refuse to hear cabalettas. This is an error equal to that of the time when only cabalettas were wanted. They scream so against convention, and then abandon one to embrace another! Like flocks of sheep!!’.

The duet poses a different problem. 18th-century opera seria tended to minimize ensembles. Under the influence of opera buffa, ensembles gradually infiltrated the grand Metastasian design, until by 1800 ensembles within the act and lengthy finales were the norm. As Rossini matured, the number of his solo arias (with or without assisting chorus) decreased until, in an opera such as Maometto II, they play a small role. There are of course purely lyrical duets, like the already cited ‘Questo cor ti giura amore’ from Demetrio e Polibio. But Rossini's problem was to perfect a duet form that offered the characters opportunity for lyrical expression while centring on their dramatic confrontation. The duet ‘Lasciami, non t'ascolto!’ for Tancredi and Amenaide exemplifies his solution. Essentially in four parts, the duet begins with a confrontation that dramatically motivates the whole composition, Tancredi's belief in Amenaide's guilt and her protestations of innocence. The initial clash is presented in parallel poetic stanzas, normally set to the same or similar music. Here the settings differ only in details of ornamentation and in tonality: Tancredi's is in the tonic, Amenaide's modulates to and remains in the dominant. Once positions have been stated, the characters often continue in dialogue, though in this example an orchestral modulation (typically to the mediant major) leads directly to the second section. The latter is a lyrical contemplation of the dramatic situation. Though the characters basically have quite different views, they express them in ‘pseudo-canon’ to the same or parallel texts, one character singing a lyrical phrase alone, the other repeating it while the first supplies brief counterpoints. Overlapping lyrical phrases and cadences, often in 3rds and 6ths, bring the section to a close. The third section can recall the first, but is freer in design. Action is taken, new positions defined, a motivating force established, while the music follows the events, preparing the final section, a cabaletta a due. Using the form outlined above, the characters reflect on their new positions, shout out new challenges and so on. (In the Tancredi duet older printed editions do not show the repetition of the cabaletta theme, but it is found in the autograph.)

The first-act finale is quite similar to the duet, with the standard addition of a short opening ensemble or chorus. Since more action is to be incorporated into the music, the kinetic sections are longer and more flexible. Action is advanced through passages of arioso and simple declamation over orchestral periods, often identical in both kinetic sections. The latter are followed, respectively, by a slow ensemble, called a ‘Largo’, and a concluding cabaletta, referred to in the finale as a ‘stretta’ but indistinguishable in shape and function from the normal cabaletta. The Tancredi finale is a pure example, but with the addition of extra internal movements the model holds for most contemporary opera seria. Indeed, except for a less rigid stretta, the act ‘Il contratto nuziale’ from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor concludes with a textbook example of the Rossini finale, the famous sextet forming the Largo. The same holds for the first-act finale of Verdi's Nabucco. Once again, Rossini's underlying plan balances various forces, musical, dramatic and vocal.

The difficulty with these formal conventions is that form too easily degenerates into formula. But the procedures do permit diverse handling and effective modifications. Tancredi manifests them in their pristine state. The lines are clear, the melodies crystalline, the rhythms vital without being exaggerated, the harmonies simple but with enough chromatic inflections to keep the attention. Orchestral writing is kept in perfect control, with the wind offering numerous colouristic solos. Heroic and idyllic moods dominate, and Rossini captured well the pseudo-Arcadian spirit. Although the world of Semiramide is implicit here, its realization seems far off.

Not all the music of Tancredi partakes in these formal conventions. For a revival of the opera in Ferrara shortly after the première, Rossini replaced the opera's original happy ending with a tragic finale. In this he was sustained by Luigi Lechi, a literary figure and long-term companion of the prima donna, Adelaide Malanotte. Lechi provided the text of the new finale after Voltaire's original drama. Rossini's music seems to aspire to the Gluckian ideal, but the Ferrarese would have none of it. The composer, ever practical, abandoned his tragic finale, whose manuscript was consigned to Lechi. Only in our time has the music been recovered, and most modern performances adopt this striking, unconventional conclusion to Tancredi.

L'italiana in Algeri, to a libretto by Angelo Anelli first set by Luigi Mosca (1808), fully shared the success of Tancredi. It is an opera buffa that moves easily among the sentimental (Lindoro's ‘Languir per una bella’), the grossly farcical (the ‘Pappataci’ trio), the patriotic (Isabella's ‘Pensa alla patria’), and the sheer lunatic (the ‘cra cra, bum bum, din din, tac tac’ of the first finale). Too often, critics stress the extent to which Rossini's opera seria is enriched through elements of the opera buffa without looking at the reverse: how opera buffa adopted elements from the seria. The aria ‘Pensa alla patria’ would have no place in a classical opera buffa, and this tendency develops further in La Cenerentola. Similarities between the genres are as important as their divergences. Of course there are no buffo arias per se in Rossini's serious operas, and devices such as mechanical repetition, rapid declamation to the limits of the possible, the use of large intervals in a grotesque manner (‘Pappataci Mustafà’) or exaggerated contrasts of tempo are part of buffo technique. Similarly, elaborate, orchestrally introduced scenas, often preceding major arias in Rossini's serious operas, rarely appear in the buffo world. The heroic coro e cavatina is reserved for the opera seria, though Rossini satirized the procedure in Dandini's mock-heroic entrance in La Cenerentola, ‘Come un'ape ne' giorni d'aprile’, or even in Isabella's ‘Cruda sorte! amor tiranno!’ from L'italiana.

But so many elements are similar. All the formal designs of the opera seria recur in the opera buffa, though treated with the greater internal freedom characteristic of the buffo heritage. The rhythmic verve of opera buffa, which depends on rapid orchestral melodies as a background for quasi-declamatory vocal lines, easily passes to the serious style and helps expand enormously the amount of action incorporated into musical numbers. Though the stretta of an opera seria finale would never adopt the ‘bum bum’ fracas of L'italiana, there is really scant difference in character between the close of the first-act finale in the serious Aureliano in Palmira and the comic Il turco in Italia. Nor does the orchestration differ greatly between the genres. The ease with which a single overture could introduce a serious or a comic opera is well known. This confounding of types, particularly the rhythmic vitality injected from the opera buffa into the seria and the introduction of more noble sentiments into stock buffo figures, is central to an understanding of Rossini's music and its effect on his contemporaries. Though the traditional buffa prevails gloriously in L'italiana, La Cenerentola is only four years away.

After Tancredi and L'italiana, Rossini's fame was assured. From the end of 1813 until the summer of 1814 he was largely in Milan, mounting and revising for the Teatro Re his two Venetian successes, and composing for La Scala two new operas, Aureliano in Palmira (26 December 1813) and Il turco in Italia (14 August 1814). The role of Arsace in the former was sung by the last great castrato, Giambattista Velluti. Although the castrato hero had been superseded by the contralto (Rossini's Tancredi, Malcolm in La donna del lago, Calbo in Maometto II and Arsace in Semiramide are all breeches roles) and by the tenor (Othello, Rinaldo in Armida, Osiride in Mosè in Egitto and Ilo in Zelmira), Velluti remained a powerful figure. Rossini again wrote a part for him in his 1822 cantata Il vero omaggio, prepared for the Congress of Verona, but Velluti's greatest triumph was as Armando in Meyerbeer's last Italian opera, Il crociato in Egitto of 1824, one of the last significant castrato roles.

Velluti's importance for Rossini centres on an anecdote too widely accepted, according to which Velluti so ornamented Rossini's music that it was unrecognizable. Enraged, the composer vowed thenceforth to write out all ornamentation in full. It is an amusing story; but Rodolfo Celletti has conclusively demonstrated its fatuousness. While Rossini's melodies do tend more and more toward the decorative and florid, it is a gradual process. Rather than a matter of disciplining singers, Rossini's florid style is a mode of musical thought whose development can be traced from Demetrio e Polibio to Semiramide. At least one piece from Aureliano was published with Velluti's ornaments, the duet ‘Mille sospiri e lagrime’. It is not certain that these are the variants he sang in Milan, but they are no more objectionable than ornamented versions of Rossini arias by other singers published in Paris in the 1820s. There is no hard evidence that Velluti had any effect on Rossini's vocal style, and there is no quantum jump between Aureliano and Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra, Rossini's first Neapolitan opera and, according to legend, the first opera in which he left no space for singers’ ornamentation.

Aureliano was only moderately successful with the Milanese; Il turco in Italia, to a libretto by Felice Romani, fell flat. The fault did not lie with the opera, which is as masterful as L'italiana and, particularly in its Pirandellian Poet, even more sophisticated. The Poet, however, was not Romani's invention: like much of the libretto this enigmatic figure derives from an earlier libretto of the same name by Caterino Mazzolà, first performed at the court of Dresden in 1788 with music by Franz Joseph Seydelmann. Ignorant of the pre-history of the libretto, the Milanese believed Il turco to be an inversion of L'italiana and claimed also to hear extensive self-borrowing in the music. But Il turco is actually one of Rossini's most carefully constructed comic operas. Except for a few short motifs (for example, the opening motif of the duet ‘Io danari vi darò’ from Il signor Bruschino is the basis for the first section of the magnificent Geronio-Fiorilla duet ‘Per piacere alla signora’), the opera is newly composed.

In the ensembles Rossini shines, and the quintet ‘Oh guardate che accidente!’ is one of the best he ever wrote. It is also one of the most disturbing, as Don Geronio is thrust deeper and deeper into a confusion of identity as the music and masqueraded characters swirl around him. The trio ‘Un marito scimunito!’ presents the Poet projecting a plot around the misfortunes of his friends, until in fury they turn on him singing:

Atto primo, scena prima,

Il poeta, per l'intrico,

Dal marito e dall'amico

Bastonate prenderà.

Rossini's setting is unique among his ensembles. The entire piece grows from a figure in semibreves, played alone and then accompanying the orchestral motif round which the buffo declamation revolves (ex.4).

By the end of the year Rossini was again in Venice, writing Sigismondo for the carnival season at La Fenice. Although its failure was deserved, some of the numbers that critics praise in Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra were originally written for Sigismondo. Azevedo quoted Rossini concerning the publication of his complete works by Ricordi in the 1850s:

I remain furious … about the publication, which will bring all my operas together before the eyes of the public. The same pieces will be found several times, for I thought I had the right to remove from my fiascos those pieces which seemed best, to rescue them from shipwreck by placing them in new works. A fiasco seemed to be good and dead, and now look they've resuscitated them all!

The extent and character of Rossini's self-borrowing remains to be investigated, although serious analytic work has finally been done on the three operas that most prominently depend on the recycling of earlier music: Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra, La gazzetta and Eduardo e Cristina.

Elisabetta, Rossini's next opera (4 October 1815), opens his Neapolitan period and almost exclusive involvement with opera seria. During the first years (1815–17) of his association with Naples, however, Rossini produced several major works for other cities, including two comic operas, Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, and two in the semiseria genre, Torvaldo e Dorliska and La gazza ladra. These works, so different as a group from his Neapolitan operas, may be examined first.

Soon after the première of Elisabetta Rossini went to Rome, where he wrote two operas during the carnival season. The first, Torvaldo e Dorliska, opened the season at the Teatro Valle (26 December 1815). There are attractive elements in this rescue opera, but its reception was mediocre. The day after the première, Rossini signed a contract with the rival Teatro Argentina to compose an opera, to a libretto chosen by the management, for the close of carnival. (There is ample evidence, however, that several weeks earlier he had been negotiating with and on behalf of the Argentina.) After a subject offered by Jacopo Ferretti had been rejected, Cesare Sterbini, author of Torvaldo, was summoned. The resulting opera was Almaviva, ossia L'inutile precauzione, a title adopted to distinguish it from Paisiello's well-known Il barbiere di Siviglia, although the more common title appeared when the work was revived in Bologna during summer 1816. The relative failure of Almaviva on opening night is hardly surprising, if one considers the speed with which it was mounted. But stories, even by the original Rosina, Geltrude Righetti-Giorgi, which claim that Rossini extensively altered the opera are constructed on air. The standard overture was undoubtedly performed at the première; since Rossini often prepared overtures last, he probably turned to the overture of Aureliano in Palmira for lack of time or lack of will to compose another. (He turned to Aureliano and not to Elisabetta: the latter overture, though largely the same, differs in detail and has a heavier orchestration.) Manuel Garcia, the original Lindoro, cannot be shown ever to have inserted a serenade of his own, though Rossini may have permitted him to improvise an accompaniment to ‘Se il mio nome saper voi bramate’. The autograph contains the melody in Rossini's hand and guitar chords in another, except for an important modulation that Rossini obviously feared might be misinterpreted by his singer-guitarist. The libretto printed for the première gives essentially the same text as modern editions; the opera played on 20 February 1816 was the opera known today.

Il barbiere di Siviglia is perhaps the greatest of all comic operas. Beethoven thought well of it; Verdi wrote to Camille Bellaigue in 1898: ‘I cannot help thinking that Il barbiere di Siviglia, for the abundance of true musical ideas, for its comic verve and the accuracy of its declamation, is the most beautiful opera buffa there is’. Rossini was faced with one of the best librettos he ever set, one in which the characters are keenly sketched and the dramatic situations are planned for a maximum of effective interaction among those characters. Add to this that the libretto was based on an excellent play by Beaumarchais, featuring the incomparable Figaro, and it is no surprise that Rossini took fire. The opera soon gained an enormous success that has never diminished. From Lindoro's miniature canzona ‘Se il mio nome saper’ to Rosina's delicious cavatina ‘Una voce poco fa’, which so perfectly captures the wily heroine, to the uproarious first-act finale, the compositions achieve in turn melodic elegance, rhythmic exhilaration, superb ensemble writing and original and delightful orchestration, particularly when heard in Alberto Zedda's critical edition (Milan, 1969), stripped of the extraneous accretions of ‘tradition’. The formal models of earlier operas are adapted to specific dramatic situations with such cleverness and irony that they seem eternally fresh. Basilio's ‘La calunnia’ is an apotheosis of the Rossini crescendo. The orchestral phrase that is to serve for the crescendo first appears in the strings alone, sul ponticello and pianissimo, as an orchestral background for Basilio's narration. Then a gradual increase in orchestral forces, with a movement upward in register, a change to the regular position in the strings, and the introduction of staccato articulation, all produce the enormous crescendo as rumour spreads from mouth to mouth. Bartolo's ‘A un dottor della mia sorte’, on the other hand, is one of the most rapid patter songs ever written. There is the delightful incongruity of form and content in the trio ‘Ah! qual colpo inaspettato!’, where the Count and Rosina go through ‘obligatory’ formal conventions, including a strict cabaletta repeat of ‘Zitti zitti, piano piano’, while their escape ladder disappears and Figaro hopelessly mimics and prods them along, only to be forced to wait out the exigencies of form. Every piece is filled with such riches. Il barbiere di Siviglia is an opera that can be appreciated on many levels, and what it may lack in the humanity of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro it retrieves in glorious musical spirit and wit.

After two more Neapolitan operas, La gazzetta and Otello, Rossini returned to Rome, where on 25 January 1817 he produced La Cenerentola, with the contralto Righetti-Giorgi again in the title role. La Cenerentola markedly turns away from the delirious style of L'italiana and Il turco. There are, of course, the normal buffo roles. Don Magnifico aspires to be the archetypal Italian comic, but an undertone of malevolence darkens him considerably. Dandini, the servant dressed as the prince and trying to sound like him, is more subtle and more amusing. The duet ‘Un segreto d'importanza’, in which Dandini reveals his true identity to Magnifico, is brilliantly witty, and Rossini's setting is superb. Once the secret is out, the tentative opening phrase (ex.5a) is transformed into the spirited tune of the final Allegro (ex.5b). In the fashion of L'italiana the confused Magnifico babbles:

Tengo nel cerebro un contrabbasso

Che basso basso frullando va,

with the requisite leaps and quick patter.

What sets La Cenerentola apart, though, is the nature of the Cenerentola-Don Ramiro story, the sentimental tale, the transformation of the scullery maid who sings ‘Una volta c'era un re’ in the introduction of Act 1 into the royal maiden who, with full coloratura regalia, ends the opera with ‘Nacqui all'affanno e al pianto’. The shy mouse of the duet ‘Un soave non so che’, with her charmingly incoherent ‘Quel ch'è padre non è padre’, grows into the mature woman who, in the sextet ‘Siete voi? voi Prence siete?’, can, to the beautiful melody ‘Ah signor, s'è ver che in petto’, forgive those who have wronged her. Far removed from the tone of an Isabella or Rosina, Cenerentola is a character who anticipates the heroines of sentimental dramas, such as Bellini's La sonnambula.

La gazza ladra, produced in Milan on 31 May 1817, takes the process further. The rustic setting, as later in La sonnambula, heralds a tragi-comedy, the opera semiseria genre so popular in this period. Not until Verdi's Luisa Miller was a rustic scene permitted to serve as background to real tragedy. Some critics have deplored a lack of profundity in Rossini's characterization of the evil forces in the opera, particularly the Podestà, but this objection loses sight of the genre. The Podestà must function as a semi-buffo figure to sustain disbelief in the reality of the forces that appear to be bent on Ninetta's inevitable destruction. Indeed Rossini develops the characters quite carefully, avoiding both the exaggerations of buffo style and the postures of opera seria. Ninetta's simplicity, even when overwhelmed by events, differentiates her entirely from his earlier, more sophisticated heroines. In both the sweetness of the opening of her duet with Pippo, ‘Ebben, per mia memoria’, and the almost monotone declamation at ‘A mio nome deh consegna questo anello’, set over a theme used earlier in the sinfonia, Ninetta is the image of persecuted innocence. Her prayer at the start of the second-act finale, framed by a funeral march, is extremely touching, the more so for Rossini's restraint in the use of ornament. Fernando, her father, is one of the composer's finest bass roles, and his agony is vividly expressed musically. The pedlar, Isacco, is sketched with just a few touches but they are witty and telling, especially in his street song, ‘Stringhe e ferri’. Though Giannetto makes a bland lover, his parents are well characterized. To begin the opera, Rossini wrote one of his finest overtures, filled with novel and striking ideas from the opening antiphonal snare drum rolls and military march, to the first group in the minor (later employed in Ninetta's prison scene) and the superb crescendo.

Rossini began his maturity close to 18th-century models but gradually established his own approaches to musical form, melodic writing and dramatic characterization. Since this period of his first maturity includes his better-known music, one tends to characterize his total operatic output by it and to see him as essentially Classical rather than Romantic. But if the Romantic tradition in Italian opera is defined through the works of Bellini and Donizetti, this tradition is unthinkable without the developments that Rossini's style underwent both in his first maturity and in the years immediately following, years in which the composer's base of operations was established in Naples.

4. Naples and the ‘opera seria’, 1815–23.

By 1815 Rossini's operas were played almost everywhere, but in Naples they were ignored. That the Neapolitans, with their long, flourishing native traditions, were loath to welcome a brash northerner into the temple of Cimarosa and the still-living Paisiello is understandable. Indeed, the advent of Rossini marked the end of Neapolitan dominance in Italian opera. But the powerful and shrewd impresario of the Neapolitan theatres, Domenico Barbaia, seeking to revitalize operatic life in Naples, invited Rossini both to compose for his theatres and, soon, to serve as their musical and artistic director. From 1815 until 1822 Rossini was to reign over this domain, and the initial resistance he encountered from the fiercely nationalistic Neapolitans gradually dissolved as he became their adopted favourite son.

Although Rossini was granted the right to travel and compose for other theatres, after La gazza ladra few of the fruits of these travels could bear comparison with the Neapolitan operas. Indeed Rossini's Neapolitan period was important precisely because he wrote for a specific theatre, the Teatro S Carlo, with a fine orchestra and superb singers. He could write more deliberately and be assured of adequate rehearsals. He could come to know the strengths of his company and they could develop together. The growth of Rossini's style from Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra to Zelmira and, ultimately, Semiramide, is a direct consequence of this continuity. Not only did Rossini compose some of his finest operas for Naples, but these operas profoundly affected operatic composition in Italy and made possible the developments that were to lead to Verdi.

4. Stage design (Act 2 scene ii) by Alessandro Sanquirico for the first Milan performance of Rossini’s ‘Semiramide’, 1824 (Museo Teatrale alla Scala, Milan)

View large

It is often asserted that Rossini's first Neapolitan opera, Elisabetta, opened a new stylistic era, but the chronologically significant point is not equally important musically. Elisabetta belongs to the world of Aureliano in Palmira and Sigismondo, not to the world of Mosè in Egitto or La donna del lago. To call it the first opera in which Rossini wrote out the coloratura is a great exaggeration (see above). Although it is the first of his operas in which all recitative is accompanied by strings, Mayr had done this two years earlier in Medea in Corinto, written for the same Neapolitans who, largely under French influence, were demanding the rejection of secco recitative in opera seria. Much of the music of Elisabetta is salvaged from earlier operas, and the new pieces offer little novelty. As Rossini's first opera for Isabella Colbran, whose highly ornamental style of singing was to affect Rossini's musical thought, Elisabetta is important, but it marks no significant reform or progress in the character of the opera seria.

The same cannot be said of Otello, composed a year later. After the première of Elisabetta, Rossini returned to Rome for Torvaldo e Dorliska and Il barbiere di Siviglia. During his absence fire destroyed the old Teatro S Carlo. While Barbaia rapidly rebuilt it, Rossini composed two operas for other Neapolitan theatres, La gazzetta and Otello. The former was given at the Teatro dei Fiorentini on 26 September 1816. This theatre was the home of traditional Neapolitan opera buffa, and Rossini used Neapolitan dialect for the main buffo role, Don Pomponio, sung by Carlo Casaccia, who made a speciality of such parts. Indeed, when La Cenerentola was revived for the Teatro del Fondo in spring 1818, Casaccia played Don Magnifico in dialect, perhaps with Rossini's approval. La gazzetta was even more derivative than Elisabetta. It is as if Rossini were gauging his new audience by drawing together successful numbers from lesser-known operas before attempting an original work. Several numbers are lifted whole from Il turco in Italia, including the entire masked ball scene in Act 2, with the chorus ‘Amor la danza mova’ and the quintet, ‘Oh! vedete che accidente’; a trio is taken without change from La pietra del paragone; and several pieces are largely derived from Torvaldo e Dorliska. These operas were unknown in Naples, Rossini had no desire to revive them there (unlike L'italiana in Algeri, which he offered in 1815 contemporaneously with the production of Elisabetta), and thus they could be freely pillaged. After La gazzetta he rarely resorted to borrowing for his Neapolitan operas.

With Otello, given at the Teatro del Fondo on 4 December 1816, Rossini emerges as a composer of quite a different stature. The work has had a complicated reception in the English-speaking world: Byron notoriously wrote in 1818 ‘They have been crucifying Othello into an opera’. But this intolerance with respect to Berio's libretto fails to recognize that the direct source of the opera was not the Shakespeare play but rather its French adaptation by J.F. Ducis, the version commonly known throughout Europe at the time. Even the first two acts provide the composer with some wonderful musical opportunities: memorable are the Duettino for Desdemona and Emilia (‘Vorrei che il tuo pensiero’), with its elaborate orchestral introduction; the extended first-act finale, with its notable ensembles (‘Ti parli l'amore’ and ‘Incerta l'anima’); and the duet in which Iago encourages Othello's jealousy (‘Non m'inganno; al mio rivale’).

While Berio's libretto reduces the complexities of the drama into a standard story of rivalry, with two tenors striving for the hand of a prima donna, it rises to an altogether different level in its masterful third act. Rossini treats the act as a single musical entity, and although one can identify the Gondolier's canzona, the Willow Song and prayer, the duet, and the final catastrophe, none is truly independent. Desdemona's Willow Song is ostensibly strophic, but Rossini's handling of vocal ornamentation gives it a more sophisticated structure. The first strophe is simple, a beautiful harp-accompanied melody. The second is more ornamented, and the third is quite florid. But the storm brews without and within, and when, after a short section of arioso, the frightened Desdemona begins the final strophe, it is utterly barren of ornament. Finally, unable to finish, she trails off into arioso. Although the first section of the Othello-Desdemona ‘duet’ is traditional, its ending, which builds in intensity until Othello kills Desdemona, is not. There is no dramatic room for a cabaletta, and Rossini offers none, though the text had been fashioned to suggest the typical cabaletta structure. Throughout this act, the drama is the controlling element, and the music, while never abdicating its own rights, reinforces it. In Act 3 of Otello Rossini came of age as a musical dramatist.

After trips to Rome and Milan for La Cenerentola and La gazza ladra, Rossini returned to Naples, where from 1817 until 1822 his most significant operas were written. These include Armida (9 November 1817), Mosè in Egitto (5 March 1818), Ricciardo e Zoraide (3 December 1818), Ermione (27 March 1819), La donna del lago (24 October 1819), Maometto II (3 December 1820) and Zelmira (16 February 1822). Though written for Venice, Semiramide (3 February 1823) is a fitting climax to this period and brings to a close Rossini's Italian career. Few of the works written for other cities approach the Neapolitan ones. Adelaide di Borgogna (Rome, 27 December 1817), Adina (a one-act farsa written in 1818, though not performed until 12 June 1826 in Lisbon) and Eduardo e Cristina (Venice, 24 April 1819, but a pasticcio) are inferior in quality. Bianca e Falliero (Milan, 26 December 1819), while dramaturgically undistinguished, contains some of Rossini's most beautiful music, with a piquant harmonic palette and a surprisingly elaborate approach to phrase structure. Matilde di Shabran (Rome, 24 February 1821) is an unusually serious and extended opera semiseria, the only one of these operas that Rossini produced in Naples (at the end of 1821, extensively revised, with one of the comic roles recast in Neapolitan dialect).

Criticism of Rossini's Neapolitan operas, beginning with Stendhal, has concentrated too heavily on the singers Isabella Colbran, Andrea Nozzari, Giovanni David and Rosmunda Pesaroni, whose vocal talents left an indelible and not wholly positive mark on Rossini's style. They all specialized in florid singing that could be dazzling in its splendour but monotonous in its ubiquity. In his Neapolitan works Rossini rarely failed to exploit the characteristic strengths of these voices. Attention given to this aspect of Rossini's art was intensified by his personal relations with Isabella Colbran. When Rossini arrived in Naples, she appears to have been Barbaia's mistress. Her unusual vocal abilities, as a dramatic soprano capable of elaborate fioritura, and her Spanish beauty combined to entrance the composer. Some time between 1815 and 1822 he replaced Barbaia as Colbran's favourite, and in 1822, in Bologna, married her. The marriage was never very fortunate, but a false image of Rossini led by the whims of his prima donna has persisted. Though she clearly exerted some influence on his musical style, the exaggeration of its importance is based on a misreading of the Neapolitan operas. That all these works have seen major revivals in the theatre over the past 20 years has cast them in a very different light.

Solo singing is of course important in these works. Malcolm's cavatina ‘Elena! oh tu che chiamo’ from La donna del lago, Orestes' cavatina ‘Che sorda al mesto pianto’ from Ermione, and Arsace's cavatina ‘Ah! quel giorno ognor rammento’ from Semiramide, each a standard entrance aria with an introductory scena, a slow and florid primo tempo and a rousing cabaletta, are all beautiful pieces, but they define their characters so generically that they were used almost interchangeably during the 19th century. Rossini himself put ‘Che sorda al mesto pianto’ into La donna del lago (1819, Naples) and its primo tempo (together with a cabaletta from Otello) into Matilde di Shabran (1829, Paris). Since he had ‘neglected’ to compose a cavatina for Desdemona in Otello, the great singer Giuditta Pasta supplied her own, adopting ‘Elena! oh tu che chiamo’ for the purpose. This same interchangeability affects the final rondos Rossini composed for a few operas. Elena's ‘Tanti affetti in tal momento’, which brings down the curtain in La donna del lago, found a home in many Rossini operas, at least twice through the composer's own actions (in Bianca e Falliero and in the 1823 Venetian revision of Maometto II). These arias, all virtuoso pieces, offer enormous technical difficulties, but also contain simpler vocal periods and delicate orchestral shading to raise them above the level of pure technique. What they may lack in delineation of character they recover in the glorious sound that wells inexhaustibly from Rossini.

Focussing undue attention on the soloists can mask the far-reaching advances in musical thought in these Neapolitan operas. Though Guillaume Tell is Rossini's most ambitious opera, its basis is laid in Naples. And Rossini was not first exposed to French opera in Paris: he directed the revival of Spontini's Fernand Cortez at the Teatro S Carlo in 1820, shortly before he composed Maometto II. The importance Rossini attached to the latter is apparent. After its indifferent reception in Naples, he revised it for Venice in 1823, immediately before the Semiramide première, and in 1826 used it to initiate his Parisian career, as Le siège de Corinthe. Similarly, the finest numbers in Moïse, Rossini's second Parisian opera, are already found in its Italian model, Mosè in Egitto.

From a dramaturgical viewpoint, the Neapolitan operas are strikingly original and diverse. Their literary sources run the gamut. An Italian Renaissance verse epic, Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, provides the source for Armida. Two major dramatic traditions of the 17th century are represented: English Renaissance drama (Shakespeare's Othello for Otello) and French classical tragedy (Racine's Andromaque for Ermione). Among 18th-century literary genres there are characteristic mock-epics (Forteguerri's Riciardetto for Ricciardo e Zoraide) and neo-classical drama from France (De Belloy's Zelmire for Zelmira) and Italy (Ringhieri's L'Osiride for Mosè in Egitto). Among the more recent literary genres we find the gothic novel (Sophie Lee's The Recess for Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra), English Romantic poetry (Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake for La donna del lago), and early Italian Romantic drama (Della Valle's Anna Erizo for Maometto II). Had Rossini laid down a formal programme for the absorption of the major European literary genres on to the Italian operatic stage, he and his librettists could not have produced a more impressive and varied list of sources.

To bring such a range of subjects on to the operatic stage, Rossini's Neapolitan operas show an enormous expansion in musical means, particularly an increase in the number and length of ensembles. There is a corresponding decrease in the prominence of solo arias and a profound shift in the role of the chorus, which now acts not as passive observer but as active participant. For the musical and dramatic requirements these changes imply, Rossini created a more dramatic accompanied recitative (nowhere more strongly exemplified than in Ermione's soliloquy before the temple where Orestes is murdering Pirro at the altar), and generally made his orchestra more prominent (earning himself the criticism of being Germanic). He attacked the tyranny of the ‘number’ from within, and the Neapolitan version of Maometto II is certainly more audacious in this respect than its French revision.

Most operatic reformers are credited with expanding musical means, achieving a more continuous dramatic structure, and turning from a style dependent on the solo aria. A traditional way of achieving this is seen in the second act of Armida. This act reveals a continuous, additive musical and dramatic structure (short choruses alternating with recitative, duets, dances, even a tema con variazioni for soprano ‘D'amore al dolce impero’), deriving from earlier French tradition and characteristic of the Gluckian reform. Such a musically shapeless but dramatically responsive series of elements is scarcely original with Rossini. Paer and Mayr both featured this technique prominently, and it occurs in Rossini's earliest operas. The finale of Act 2 of Semiramide is a later example of such scenic construction.

Central to Rossini's reform, though, is the internal expansion of the musical unit. The simpler forms of Tancredi are pressed far beyond their original confines to incorporate extended dramatic action and diverse musical elements. The introductions of Tancredi and Semiramide are recognizably in the same tradition, but the latter is enormously expanded, presenting most of the characters, establishing the main lines of the plot, and comprising an introductory solo scena, a chorus, a trio for Idreno, Oroe and Assur, another chorus followed by a quartet in pseudo-canon, a dramatic scena for soloists and chorus, and a final cabaletta led by Semiramide but incorporating all four soloists and chorus. The music is largely continuous, themes recur from one section to another, and the entire composition forms a dramatic, musical and tonal entity.

Perhaps the most remarkable number in these operas is the first-act ‘terzettone’ (as Rossini called it) in Maometto II, ‘Ohimè! qual fulmine’. Practically the longest unit in the opera, this number shows in the extreme how Rossini expanded internally standard forms. The ensemble begins as if it were to be a simple trio, with a static section followed by a kinetic one. Though normally this would address a concluding cabaletta, here a cannon shot announces Maometto's impending siege, and Anna, Erisso and Calbo leave the stage. As the scene changes, the ‘trio’ is left incomplete, but the music continues into a chorus and solo prayer for Anna. Erisso and Calbo return, and with the members of the initial trio reassembled, they launch a typical four-part design that concludes with a cabaletta to bring the entire scene to completion. The whole composition is tonally closed, with the initial ‘Ohimè! qual fulmine’ and concluding cabaletta ‘Dicesti assai! t'intendo’ both in E major. Tonal closure is essential to Rossini's technique, and helps unify his expanded ensembles. Though this terzettone, which fills more than a third of Act 1, incorporates many different dramatic events and musical sections, it clearly represented a unit for Rossini and must be heard as such to make formal sense. To break it up into a ‘Scena e Terzetto’, ‘Scena’, ‘Coro’, ‘Preghiera’ and ‘Scena e Terzetto’, as in standard vocal scores of the opera, is to substitute chaos for an effective and coherent plan. This is an extreme but characteristic example of Rossini's efforts to incorporate more musical material and dramatic action into the individual number. Though the number remains sectional, these sections define a larger design, as the composer expands, almost to the limits of intelligibility, the possibilities of those formal patterns he had established earlier as basic elements in Italian operatic structure.

Equally important is the new emphasis Rossini placed on the chorus. From an inert mass in Tancredi, the chorus becomes in Mosè in Egitto or La donna del lago a central character in the drama, a role further developed in Rossini's French operas. Whereas in earlier operas the chorus merely comments on the actions of the principal characters, in the first-act finale of La donna del lago, with its famous ‘Coro dei Bardi’, the chorus dominates as the various melodic strands of the finale are brought together into a powerful ensemble. The opening chorus from Mosè in Egitto, ‘Ah! che ne aita!’, draws its source from the tradition of the Bach prelude rather than from simple song forms, with the melody of ex.6 winding from key to key as the chorus intones its pleas for mercy, interspersed with cries from the soloists. The simplicity and strength of these choruses, the most famous of which is the prayer for soloists and chorus from Mosè, ‘Dal tuo stellato soglio’, further balance the florid solo writing.

Even Rossini's approach to the overture changed drastically in Naples. After Elisabetta and Otello, both of whose overtures were composed for other operas, the former for Aureliano in Palmira, the latter for Sigismondo, Rossini firmly avoided prefacing his Neapolitan operas with standard overtures. Indeed Mosè, Ricciardo e Zoraide, La donna del lago, Maometto II and Zelmira have no overtures at all, but at most introductory orchestral material melodically related to the ensuing introductions. Armida has an overture, but it is not in Rossini's traditional mould. The overture to Ermione is the most fascinating, for although its structure largely parallels the norm, at several points during this overture the chorus is heard, from behind the curtain, lamenting the fate of Troy; in the introduction, these choral interjections are developed into a full chorus. In his operas for other cities, however, Rossini continued to supply overtures, though many are derivative and only the overtures to the second version of Maometto II and to Semiramide (both written for the carnival season of 1823 in Venice) are worthy of the composer. Impresarios elsewhere were presumably in a position to demand overtures, whether the composer wanted to write one or not, but in Naples Rossini could exercise his will. The absence of traditional overtures there evidently reflects an artistic decision, and it seems likely that Rossini sought to involve his audience with the drama from the opening moment. A formal overture was extraneous, and hence was sacrificed. The significance of this approach for later Italian composers needs hardly be stressed. Indeed it is to Rossini's Neapolitan operas that a generation of composers, including Bellini and Donizetti, looked for inspiration and guidance.

Rossini also composed in these years a number of charming cantatas for state occasions and royal visits, as well as a Messa di gloria. In the mass Rossini returned to a tradition he had absorbed while a child in Lugo, but the result goes far beyond those juvenile compositions. It draws both on Rossini's operatic style and on techniques characteristic of sacred music generally absent from the operas, such as the extensive participation of obbligato orchestral instruments in complete ritornello arias and the employment of more contrapuntal textures. Far from being pieced together from fragments of his operas, as earlier writers ignorant of the score claimed, the Messa di gloria is an original and excellent work, as worthy of modern performance as the great sacred works of Rossini's post-operatic career.

5. Europe and Paris, 1822–9.

Rossini's operas had gained international acclaim. Both France and England were bidding for his services, but Barbaia provided the impetus for Rossini's first foreign voyages just as he had initiated the composer's stay in Naples. The men were tied professionally, personally (through Colbran) and financially. Indeed, Rossini's wealth grew from his association with Barbaia in a company running the profitable gambling tables in the foyer of the Teatro S Carlo. Assuming directorship of the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna at the end of 1821, Barbaia imported his Neapolitan company, together with its composer, for a Rossini festival. It began on 13 April 1822 with Zelmira, which had had its Neapolitan première in February, and lasted until July. Six operas were given with extraordinary success. The city of Beethoven and Schubert welcomed Rossini as a hero. He may have been introduced to Beethoven, who according to Michotte told him to write only comic operas, faintly malicious advice to a composer who had written little but opera seria since 1817.

After his Viennese stay, Rossini parted company with Barbaia and Naples. He returned to Italy during summer 1822 and remained until autumn 1823. At the invitation of Prince Metternich, he composed two cantatas for the Congress of Verona at the end of 1822 (both patched together from earlier works). The carnival season of 1823 found him at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, revising Maometto II to open the season and composing his last opera for Italy, Semiramide. It is one of the few Rossini operas whose genesis can be followed in some detail. Gaetano Rossi, the librettist, was a guest of the Rossinis in Bologna during the autumn of 1822, and his letters to Meyerbeer frequently refer to the opera being composed.

The Rossinis spent summer 1823 in Bologna. On 20 October they departed for Paris and England. That they were abandoning Italian theatres for ever probably occurred to neither of them. Rossini left Italy as the most important and popular composer of his time. He had written 34 operas, the best of which formed a large proportion of the repertory in opera houses throughout the peninsula. He was 31 years old.

They stopped briefly in Paris, where many of Rossini's operas were known, even if productions at the Théâtre Italien were often so radically altered in content that Stendhal accused its directors of attempting to sabotage Rossini's reputation in France. Royally fêted, he began negotiations with the French government concerning future activities in Paris, both at the Théâtre Italien and at the Opéra. The Rossinis then continued to London, arriving late in 1823. A Rossini season was organized at the King's Theatre, but many of the operas were unsuccessful. Zelmira made a particularly poor impression because of the inadequacy of Colbran in the title role. Her voice was gone, her career effectively over. Rossini was supposed to write a new opera, Ugo, re d'Italia. Although he may have composed at least part of it, nothing survives. In the autograph score of Ermione, however, several pieces are underlaid with alternative texts, in which the character Ugo appears. Rossini, who had kept the Ermione autograph as he had those for all his Neapolitan operas, apparently intended to use at least part of this score, performed only in Naples, as the basis for his English opera. Again Rossini's first reaction to a new artistic environment was to adapt an older work rather than to compose a new one. Most of his time, though, was spent growing wealthy on the foibles of English aristocrats, who were willing to spend outrageous sums to have the composer and his wife participate in household musical gatherings or to give lessons to their spoilt daughters.

By 1 August 1824 Rossini was in Paris. His contract with the French government had been signed in London on 27 February, at the home of the French ambassador. In it he agreed to remain in France for a year, writing new operas for the Théâtre Italien and the Opéra, as well as producing his older operas. The first work to be produced under his direction in Paris was La donna del lago at the Théâtre Italien on 7 September 1824. It achieved a great success, even though the public found the banda sul palco so loud that the setting had to be altered. Shortly thereafter Rossini returned to Bologna for a visit home, perhaps with the aim of finding singers for the Théâtre Italien. By the beginning of November Rossini and Isabella had returned to Paris, where they were to live together for almost five years.

Although as early as 12 November 1824 the administration of the Opéra had offered Rossini a libretto in French by Jouy, Le vieux de la montagne, for the composer's consideration, Rossini moved slowly. He first concentrated his attention on the Théâtre Italien, where he became directeur de la musique et de la scène according to a new contract signed on 25 November. As director of the theatre, Rossini introduced to Paris the finest Italian singers in first-rate performances of his most advanced Neapolitan operas, including Zelmira (14 March 1826) and Semiramide (8 December 1825), supervising the productions and often making significant revisions. The operas he produced by other composers included Il crociato in Egitto (22 September 1825), which launched Meyerbeer's phenomenal Parisian career. With Rossini at its helm, the Théâtre Italien enjoyed its moment of greatest glory, and until his seemingly definitive departure from Paris in 1836, Rossini continued to assist in running the theatre.

The first opera composed by Rossini for Paris, however, was to celebrate the coronation of Charles X in Reims on 29 May 1825. After the king's return to the capital, Parisian theatres vied with one another to recognize the occasion and Rossini's ‘opera di circostanza’ turned out to be more elaborate than perhaps he himself had originally intended. By early May the score was well under way, and the date of the royal visit to the Théâtre Italien was finally set for 19 June. Il viaggio a Reims, to a libretto by Luigi Balocchi, presents a group of travellers from all over Europe who stop to take the baths at Plombières in the Inn of the Golden Lily (the symbol of French royalty) on their way to the coronation. But no horses can be found to take them to Reims, and so they are compelled to celebrate the coronation at the inn with a series of national songs and hymns in praise of the king and the royal family.

What could have been tiresome in the hands of another composer becomes sheer magic through Rossini's art. Every singer in the company of the Théâtre Italien participated, and this elaborate cast allowed Rossini to write a piece for 14 solo voices, the gran pezzo concertato ‘A tal colpo inaspettato’, which was described by critics of the time as a ‘veritable tour de force’. The music of the entire opera is enormously varied, ranging from the florid bass aria for the English Lord Sidney, ‘Invan strappar dal core’, to the patter aria for Don Profondo (a fanatical collector of antiquities), ‘Medaglie incomparabili’; from the mock-tragic aria for the French Countess of Folleville, desperate over the destruction of her wardrobe in an accident, ‘Partir, o ciel! desio’, to the harp-accompanied ‘improvisations’ sung by Corinna, a character modelled on the protagonist of Mme de Staël's novel. Rossini's musical score is both serious and ironic at once, serious in the elaboration and complexity of the music, ironic in applying such extraordinary music to a series of operatic tableaux that gently mock the dramaturgical conventions of the genre.

Only a few performances of Il viaggio a Reims were given before Rossini withdrew the score. In the words of Marco Bordogni, the original Russian Count Libenskof, ‘the opera given on the occasion of the coronation, while it pleased enormously, is not an opera that can be given very often, considering its subject’. Ultimately Rossini re-used some of its music in a later work for the Opéra, Le comte Ory, and for a century and a half it was assumed that the opera was lost. The recovery of much of the autograph manuscript, as well as performing materials, in libraries in Paris, Rome, Vienna and New York, made it possible to reconstruct the score. Its first modern performances at the Rossini Opera Festival in 1984 under the direction of Claudio Abbado, in the critical edition by Janet Johnson, represented perhaps the most important single event of the late 20th century in what the Italians refer to as the ‘Rossini-Renaissance’.

Rossini's goal, however, was to compose operas in French for the Académie Royale de Musique. Having to learn French and master the intricacies of its declamation, Rossini approached his new task gingerly. He reserved two Neapolitan works for adaptation to the French stage, withholding them from production at the Théâtre Italien during his tenure. Thus Maometto II became Le siège de Corinthe on 9 October 1826 and Mosè in Egitto, on 26 March 1827, became Moïse. The success of Le siège de Corinthe was such that by 17 October 1826 the Vicomte de La Rochefoucauld, who was in charge of the Royal Theatres, suggested to the king that Rossini be relieved of most of his formal duties at the Théâtre Italien, permitting him to devote his energy to composition for the Opéra. An honorary post was created for him as premier compositeur du roi and inspecteur général du chant en France. A formal contract ratifying these agreements was signed by Rossini on 1 January 1827.

The differences between the two Neapolitan originals and their Parisian revisions is revealing. In the Neapolitan works extremely florid solo vocal lines, emphasizing the virtuoso and generic, co-exist with far-reaching structural experiments which seek to give musical expression to particular dramatic situations. In the Paris revisions both extremes are planed down, resulting in a more consistent, if less audacious, dramatic continuum, and a reduced gulf between declamatory lines and florid passages. Ex.7 shows the purification of a melody from the introduction of Maometto II (7a) in its French revision (7b). Similarly modifying his structural experiments, Rossini eliminated many internal sections from the terzettone analysed above, leaving a truncated and more conventional residue in Le siège de Corinthe. Arias further decline in importance. Instead Rossini tended to compose larger units in which solo voices and chorus combine more dramatically. The scene in which Hiéros blesses the soon-to-be-martyred Greek warriors and prophesies future greatness for Greece is impressive and anticipates the patriotic scenes of Auber's La muette de Portici and, of course, Rossini's own Guillaume Tell. Three of the four original arias in Mosè in Egitto were omitted for Paris. The one added aria, Anaï's ‘Quelle horrible destinée’, is in its force of utterance and starkness of melodic line far removed from the Neapolitan florid aria.

These two revisions prepared for Rossini's great French operas, the opéra comique Le comte Ory (20 August 1828) and Guillaume Tell (3 August 1829). Both works effectively unite elements of Italian and French operatic style; by fusing Italian lyricism with French declamation and spectacle, they add another link to the chain that will lead to grand opéra. Le comte Ory is a problematical work, episodic in structure, but given its sources, it is surprising the opera hangs together at all. The librettists, Eugène Scribe and Charles Gaspard Delestre-Poirson, derived the second act from their own earlier vaudeville, adding to it a first act incorporating music from Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims. The plot has its origins in a medieval ballad that recounts deeds of the notorious Count Ory, and Rossini used the ballad's tune both in the orchestral prelude and the second-act drinking-chorus. Only the Countess's aria, ‘En proie à la tristesse’, borrowed from Il viaggio a Reims, features virtuoso solo writing. More characteristic of the opera are its ensembles: the trio ‘A la faveur de cette nuit obscure’ reveals a wealth of musical detail that belies common views of Rossini's style. (It is interesting that extensive sketches survive for this composition, a rare instance.) By this time Rossini could encompass and yet unify a wide variety of musical techniques, ranging from the delicacy of this trio to a boisterous drinking-chorus, ‘Buvons, buvons soudain’, with its parody of an unaccompanied prayer, ‘Toi que je révère’, and from the italianate aria of the Countess to Raimbaud's humorous tale of pillaging the wine cellars. In his orchestra Rossini could create the most miraculous turns with a few instruments, but when necessary he could pound on the bass drum too. His genius held these contrasting forces in equilibrium, and despite some illogical turns in the plot, Le comte Ory is a fine opera.

Rossini's last opera, Guillaume Tell, based on Schiller's play, is more honoured than understood. Its occasional revivals have suffered from excessive cutting, as if the music and drama would be completely indifferent to mutilation, as if music whose grandeur is built architecturally could sustain itself when the repeat of a phrase almost inevitably attracts the ignorant conductor's scissors, as if depleting the work of its personal approach to music drama would somehow render it more ‘dramatic’ in a Verdian or Wagnerian sense. The bitter anecdote in which the head of the Opéra met Rossini on the street and proudly reported: ‘Tonight we are performing the second act of your Tell’, only to have the composer respond: ‘Indeed! All of it?’, rings true; the opera must be heard as the towering entity it is to be properly appreciated. On the other hand, one must acknowledge that Rossini himself made a number of cuts, both before the first performance and immediately after, in order to bring the score within more traditional limits. Balancing the grandeur of the original conception with practical considerations of time and place will always represent a problem with no obvious solution for theatres seeking to produce Rossini's masterpiece. Nonetheless, Guillaume Tell, carefully written, harmonically daring, melodically purged of elaborate ornamentation (though the extremely high range of the tenor part poses problems for modern singers), and orchestrally opulent, represents a final purification of Rossini's style.

Rossini wove into this historical panorama elements of the pastorale (with actual quotations from Swiss ‘ranz des vaches’), patriotic deeds (very much in vogue on the eve of the 1830 revolutions) and superbly drawn characters, particularly Tell himself and Arnold, the Swiss peasant torn between love and duty. If there is a dramaturgical problem in the opera, it lies primarily in the role of Mathilde, the Austrian princess in love with Arnold. While Mathilde is convincing in Act 2 and especially in Act 3, when she defies Gessler and takes Jemmy under her protection, Rossini and his librettists never quite figured out how to resolve her presence in the fourth act. Indeed Rossini made a number of cuts in the music of this act (including a trio for three women's voices and a touching prayer sung by Tell's wife, Hedwige), without ever quite getting its measure.

Nonetheless, the opera as a whole is a rich tapestry of the composer's most inspired music. Ensembles dominate and the interests of the drama are well served. Tell's declamatory solo within the finale of Act 3, ‘Sois immobile’, won the approval even of the mature Wagner, and it is even more effective if Jemmy is allowed to sing his enthusiastic ‘Ah! que ton âme se rassure’ in the preceding moments. The great overture is unabashedly programmatic. The extensive spectacular elements, ballets and processions derive from French operatic tradition, but are effectively integrated into the opera. Particularly impressive are the dances in the third act, where the Swiss are forced to sing a Tyrolean chorus and dance under the eyes of their Austrian lords. Throughout the opera the chorus is central both musically and dramatically, and the score often revolves about magnificent choral ensembles such as ‘Vierge que les chrétiens adorent’ in the first-act finale, or the final ensemble, ‘Tout change et grandit en ces lieux’. Act 2, in particular, is music theatre at its finest; its finale, in which the three Swiss cantons, each characterized musically, are called together to plan the revolt, has long been cited – even by Berlioz – as one of the greatest scenes Rossini ever wrote.

6. Retirement.

And then, silence. For almost 40 years Rossini lived on, lauded by many, execrated by some, begged to compose; but no more operas issued from his pen. There are no simple reasons for such a personal decision, if indeed it was consciously made. That Rossini was tired in body and mind, indeed was a semi-invalid for much of the rest of his life, was partly responsible. His rate of composition of operas diminished significantly during his active career, from an average of three new operas a year from 1811 to 1819 to only one a year from 1820 to 1823, and even fewer in Paris. The death of his mother on 20 February 1827, during rehearsals for Moïse, had already thrown the composer into a difficult psychological state, and Tell absorbed more of his energy than any other work. Letters and contemporary reports show that while Rossini composed this opera he was already thinking of terminating his theatrical career. The financial security he had now gained may also have been a contributory cause.

Political and artistic events of the next years probably solidified his resolve to abandon his career at its height. On 4 May 1829, before the première of Tell, he had negotiated a contract with the government of Charles X, in which he was assured a lifetime annuity, independent of his activities, although he did declare his readiness to write at least four additional operas, one every other year, for the Opéra. During negotiations he had threatened to withdraw Guillaume Tell before its performance if the annuity was not guaranteed. With the agreements signed and Tell launched, Rossini and his wife returned to Bologna for a vacation, his next Parisian opera scheduled for 1831. He contemplated composing a Faust based on Goethe, but never received a completed libretto. Instead, his vacation was abruptly shattered by news of the 1830 Revolution, in which Charles X was dethroned and contracts under the old regime were suspended. In early September 1830 Rossini left for Paris alone, relations with his wife having grown strained. He hoped quickly to regulate his financial affairs, but the courts did not decide the future of his annuity until six years later.

The administration of the Opéra had changed hands. Rossini had been so closely associated with the old regime that his influence there was gone, but he maintained ties with the Théâtre Italien, actively supporting the production of works by his younger contemporaries, particularly Donizetti and Bellini. Mostly he was kept in Paris by a protracted legal battle to maintain his right to the annuity provided by Charles X. He composed little; two works, the Stabat mater and the Soirées musicales, were important. During a trip to Spain in 1831 with his banker friend Alexandre Aguado, Rossini was commissioned by Fernandez Varela, a state counsellor, to set the Stabat mater. He wrote only half the score (nos.1 and 5–9) before asking his friend Giovanni Tadolini to complete six additional movements. It was almost ten years before Rossini replaced Tadolini's handiwork, and then only under pressure from his Parisian publisher, Eugène Troupenas. Rossini's conduct was not motivated by pure laziness. By 1832 he was not well, and, whether psychological or not, his ills augured a period of morbid sickness that lasted for 25 years. In this sickness he was nursed and comforted by Olympe Pélissier. Their long affair began in Paris early in the 1830s, and in 1832 Rossini dedicated to her a cantata for soprano and piano, Giovanna d'Arco. Recently a group of some 25 letters from Rossini to Olympe from the 1830s surfaced in the Fondo Rossini-Hentsch of the G. Mahler library in Paris. They bear witness to the growing love between the two, a love that culminated in their marriage in 1846, after the death of Isabella Colbran.

In Paris Rossini did complete the set of eight chamber arias and four duets known as the Soirées musicales, pieces which prove that his departure from the operatic stage had nothing to do with any decline in his inspiration. They embrace a wide range of moods: the dramatic Li marinari, the Tyrolean La pastorella dell'Alpi, the Neapolitan abandon of the ever-popular La danza. Melodically attractive, they are filled with beautiful details manifesting Rossini's skill; note, for example, the unanticipated G and D harmonies near the end of the B♭ major La serenata. These pieces were probably composed individually for various society figures during the early 1830s and then collected into a volume for publication by Troupenas in 1835.

All these factors – illness, changes in the artistic and political climate, financial security, general exhaustion – together with the enormous success of Meyerbeer's first French operas, Robert le diable (1831) and Les Huguenots (1836), which took to an extreme many techniques of Tell while abandoning the ‘Classical’ tendencies of that opera, created a physical and artistic climate in which the composition of new operas had little savour for Rossini. But the reports of rivalry between Rossini and Meyerbeer seem fundamentally false. Whatever he thought about Meyerbeer's ‘grand operas’, Rossini remained on good personal terms with Meyerbeer from 1825, when he introduced him to the Parisian public, until his death in 1864, for which Rossini composed a Chant funèbre.

With the pension affair settled in his favour, Rossini took a short trip to Germany with another banker, Lionel de Rothschild, meeting both Mendelssohn and Hiller. Mendelssohn, despite himself, came away enormously impressed, writing to his mother and sister: ‘intelligence, vivacity and polish at all times and in every word; and whoever doesn't think him a genius must hear him hold forth only once, and he'll change his mind immediately’. Hiller became a lifelong friend. By the end of summer 1836 Rossini returned to Paris to tidy up his affairs, departing again on 24 October for Italy. He did not take Olympe at first, but soon afterwards, in February 1837, she followed him to Bologna.

An account of the events of Rossini's life between the time he left Paris and his return in 1855 makes depressing reading. He was continually ill, did almost nothing, seemed indeed to be living on the brink of spiritual, if not physical, death. He and Olympe established a salon in Milan during winter 1837–8 and gave a number of musical soirées similar in style to the more famous Parisian ones of the 1860s. But the death of his father in 1839 further weakened Rossini. His only activity was as honorary consultant to the Bologna Liceo Musicale. There, starting in 1840, he attempted to regenerate the conservatory and improve its curriculum. It is known that he played at least a small role in the performance of his works there, since in the library of the conservatory is a set of orchestral parts for the quartet from Bianca e Falliero, ‘Cielo, il mio labbro ispira’, in which the part for second horn is in Rossini's hand. A note on the manuscript reads: ‘Original writing of Rossini. May 1844’. But his health was poor, urethral disorders in particular requiring prolonged and painful treatment, and so Rossini could do little for the conservatory.

When, after the death of Varela, the original version of the Stabat mater fell into the hands of the Parisian publisher Aulagnier, who printed it and arranged a performance, Rossini, partly at the prompting of Troupenas and partly because the work published by Aulagnier was a composite, disowned this version and decided to complete the work himself. The revised Stabat mater was ready by the end of 1841. The first performance, arranged by the brothers Léon and Marie Escudier, was in Paris at the Théâtre Italien on 7 January 1842. It was received with enormous enthusiasm. The first Italian performance, at Bologna, followed in March under the direction of Donizetti. Among the soloists were Clara Novello and Nikolay Ivanov, who became a close friend of Rossini and for whom, at Rossini's request, Verdi expressly composed some substitute arias. Donizetti, reporting the reception of the Stabat mater in Bologna, wrote:

The enthusiasm is impossible to describe. Even at the final rehearsal, which Rossini attended, in the middle of the day, he was accompanied to his home to the shouting of more than 500 persons. The same thing the first night, under his window, since he did not appear in the hall …

The Stabat mater is often said to be operatic. If by this is meant that the work is lyrical rather than symphonic in conception, it seems a harmless statement. But it is important to recognize that the statement is really a disguised attack on its style, affirming by implication that the piece is neither specifically religious in quality nor deeply felt. Leaving aside the thorny problem of what is theoretically appropriate for religious music, Rossini's setting of the Stabat mater contains almost no music that would normally enter into his operas, whether for reasons of structure, orchestration, melody, use of chorus or a host of other considerations. No doubt the tenor aria ‘Cujus animam’ is melodically rich, but no similar Andantino maestoso movement exists in any Rossini opera, especially with the wealth of orchestral detail present here. One need not point to the specifically ‘sacred’ conceptions, the magnificent unaccompanied quartet, ‘Quando corpus morietur’, with its sinking chromatic lines, the final choral fugue on ‘In sempiterna saecula amen’, or the dramatic interaction between soprano and chorus in ‘Inflammatus’, in order to recognize that Rossini was striving to apply his artistic talents to the service of sacred music. From beginning to end there is a spirit quite unlike that of the operatic world that Rossini had abandoned a decade before completing his hymn to the Virgin. The opening movement, beginning with the dark sonority of cellos doubled by bassoons leading to the tutti at ‘juxta crucem lacrimosa’, is a stunning testimony to the vitality and success of his efforts.

Though it did not stir Rossini to further composition, he seems to have been genuinely moved by its triumph. He was particularly grateful to Donizetti for directing the Bolognese performance, but was unsuccessful in convincing the younger maestro to assume the directorship of the Bologna Conservatory. Physically Rossini remained weak, and in search of medical help he travelled with Olympe to Paris in 1843. They soon returned to Italy, where Rossini remained indolent. In 1845 Isabella Colbran died, and on 16 August 1846 Rossini married Olympe Pélissier, with whom he had now lived for almost 15 years. He composed some trifles, mostly drawn from earlier works, adapting the famous ‘Coro dei Bardi’ from La donna del lago to unveil a monument to Tasso in 1844 and to praise Pope Pius IX in 1846, who was (for a brief time) thought to represent progressive political tendencies. Rossini also prepared a significant cantata in honour of the new pope, largely derived from pieces in his operas, Ricciardo e Zoraide, Armida, Ermione and Le siège de Corinthe. It was performed in Rome, at the Campidoglio, on 1 January 1847. A complete manuscript of the cantata recently came to light, and the work has proved to be more successful in modern revivals than one might have suspected.

The revolutionary movements that swept Italy in 1848 marked a significant turning-point in Rossini's life. He found himself out of favour with many Bolognese townsmen for what they considered his lack of enthusiasm towards the movement for national unity. Prompted by demonstrations directed against them, the Rossinis left Bologna for Florence. He always recalled this period in extremely morbid terms, claiming that his life and that of his wife had been in danger, and speaking of the Bolognese as assassins. The incident, together with his physical ills, further demoralized him. He stayed with Olympe in Florence or took cures at Montecatini or Lucca. Contemporary reports about him (from Emilia Branca Romani, Giuseppina Strepponi and many others) give uniformly depressing and pessimistic accounts. In a letter of 1854 Rossini wrote of ‘the deplorable state of health in which I find myself for five long months, a most obstinate nervous malady that robs me of my sleep and I might say almost renders my life useless’. In the hope that French doctors might be able to help him where the Italians failed, the Rossinis decided to return to Paris in the spring of 1855.

7. A new life.

The last years of Rossini's life must be understood against the background of his physical illness and mental exhaustion during the previous 20 years; for it is no exaggeration to say that, in Paris, Rossini returned to life. His health improved dramatically; his famous sense of humour returned; he bought a parcel of land in the suburb of Passy and built a villa; he rented city quarters on the rue de la Chaussée d'Antin, where before long he reigned over one of the most interesting and elegant salons in Paris. Even more remarkably, he began to compose again. The first new work was Musique anodine, six settings of Rossini’s favourite text for albumleaves, ‘Mi lagnerò tacendo’. There is something quite endearing about a composer, silent for so many years, who breaks his silence by producing multiple settings of a text that reads: ‘I will lament in silence my bitter fate’. But the songs in Musique anodine, dedicated (14 April 1857) to ‘my dear wife Olympe as a simple testimony of gratitude for the affectionate and intelligent care she offered me during my too long and terrible sickness’, have far more scope than the albumleaves Rossini continued to dash off during his retirement. They were to begin a surge of composition that ultimately included over 150 piano pieces, songs, small ensembles and the Petite messe solennelle. Most of the shorter pieces were first performed at the Rossinis' ‘Samedi soirs’, whose participants included most of the great artists and public figures living in or passing through Paris.

Rossini referred to these pieces as his Péchés de vieillesse, the ‘Sins of Old Age’, and in them he turned his wit into musical terms, incorporating in various measure grace and charm, sharp parody, a dash of sentiment, and throughout a unique combination of sophistication and naivety. He refused to permit their publication, and although some did appear in the 19th century (when a set of authenticated copies was auctioned off in London after the composer's death), they remained barely known until the Fondazione Rossini began editing them in the 1950s. Since then they have received increasingly sympathetic attention. Their historical position remains to be assessed, but it seems likely that their effect, direct or indirect, on composers like Camille Saint-Saëns and Erik Satie was significant.

Many of the piano pieces are parodies, but parodies so appealing and plausible that they could sometimes be mistaken for the things they parody, were it not that blatant excesses and Rossini's superb titles reveal his intention. One of the best is the Petit caprice (style Offenbach), allegedly a quid pro quo after Offenbach's outrageous ‘Trio patriotique’ in La belle Hélène, ‘Lorsque la Grèce est un champ de carnage’ (with its wonderful line ‘Tu t' fich' pas mal de ton pays!’), which brought Rossini's Guillaume Tell trio, ‘Quand l'Helvétie est un champ de supplices’, to the stage of the Théâtre des Variétés. The tempo indication ‘Allegretto grotesco’ leads the way, but once the music begins one feels surrounded by a slightly tipsy Offenbach cancan. The chromatic inflection of the main theme (ex.8) is suggestive. Then, within an apparently innocent F major context, Rossini first deploys a curious melodic D♭, and finally rings out a truly bizarre F♯; the piece continues as if nothing has happened, and modulates naively back to the tonic and the main theme. The unusual fingering, with the second and fifth fingers extended, produces a superstitious Italian gesture meant to ward off the evil eye, for which Offenbach was notorious.

Although Rossini referred to himself as a ‘pianist of the fourth class’, these pieces are often technically challenging, but they are also constantly delightful. The Prélude prétentieux is just that, with a fugal subject and development that parody one contrapuntal cliché after another. Mon prélude hygiénique du matin, with its opening C major and A minor arpeggios, is sure to bring a wistful smile to those whose piano practice has started each day with appropriate exercises. The absurd dance rhythms of the Fausse couche de polka mazurka and the asthmatic theme of the Valse torturée, in which the tonic is defined by the chord progression D major – D augmented – D diminished – D major, take salon music as their target. Bach and Chopin are never far from the surface, but they are viewed through a level of ironic respect that renders Rossini's homages a pleasure.

The songs and choruses are no less enjoyable. La chanson du bébé, with its refrain, ‘Pipi … maman … papa … caca’, is a charming spoof on the nursery. L'amour à Pékin, Rossini's nod at the whole-tone scale, is preceded by several piano vignettes, harmonizations first of the chromatic scale, then of the whole tone scale, but the song itself is a disappointment. It is a straightforward romance, with the whole-tone scale appearing only briefly in a cadential context (using the harmonization worked out previously in the piano vignette). The descriptive Choeur de chasseurs démocrates, written by Rossini at the request of the Baroness de Rothschild for the visit of Napoleon III in December 1862 to the Château de Ferrières, is a fine hunting chorus. The D major tonality of the main section is nicely balanced in the centre by Rossini's use of chromatic sequences, a frequent device in these late works.

Among the songs there are more traditional, sentimental, even maudlin compositions, such as L'orphéline du Tyrol, or the Chanson de Zora. But even without a layer of ironic distance these pieces have great appeal, for Rossini at his most conventional remains a remarkable composer. A large number of these songs were originally written to the ‘Mi lagnerò tacendo’ text; subsequently Rossini called on two poets, Giuseppe Torre (in Italian) and Emilien Pacini (in French), to supply appropriate words. That works so vastly different in style as the Ariette Pompadour and the Elégie (‘Adieux à la vie’) from the Album français could have been written at first with the same text demonstrates unmistakably what it means to insist – as Rossini did – that music does not ‘imitate’ text so much as provide the means of expression itself.

The finest work of Rossini's late years, and indeed one of his greatest achievements, is the Petite messe solennelle for 12 voices, two pianos and harmonium, written for the Countess Louise Pillet-Will and first performed at the consecration of her private chapel on 14 March 1864. Rossini later orchestrated the work, for fear that someone else would do it if he did not, but the mass is most effective in its original form. (Actually there are two variants of the version for two pianos and harmonium: the one performed in 1864 – only recently recovered – and the familiar one probably first performed a year later, also for the Pillet-Wills, on 24 April 1865.) In an introductory note to ‘le bon Dieu’, Rossini referred to the mass as ‘the last mortal Sin of my Old Age’, and in an envoi at the end of the autograph score he addressed God as follows: ‘Dear God. Here it is, finished, this poor little Mass. Have I written sacred music [musique sacrée] or damned music [sacrée musique]? I was born for opera buffa, you know it well! Little science, some heart, that's all. Be blessed, then, and grant me a place in Paradise’. There is something enormously appealing about this ironic naivety. Whatever Rossini's public defences that caused him to gain a reputation for coldness and aloofness, in his greatest music they fall, and here he sang the praises of God con amore.

From 1857 until his death, Rossini was among subscribers to the critical edition of the works of Bach. Many of his piano compositions reveal his knowledge of Bach, and this is true also of the Petite messe. There is no mere imitation, but an attempt to return to historical traditions while holding fast to a modern compositional vocabulary. And through all the contrapuntal writing, elaborate chromaticism and harmonic audacity, beautiful melodies abound. Some pieces, such as the tenor aria ‘Domine Deus rex coelestis’, reminiscent of ‘Cujus animam’ from the Stabat mater, give an operatic prominence to good tunes. But even knowing the contrapuntal movements of his earlier sacred works, one is unprepared for the richness of the double fugues on ‘Cum Sancto Spiritu’ and ‘Et vitam venturi saeculi Amen’. The entire Credo (with its tempo indication ‘Allegro cristiano’) is a masterpiece of economy. A few musical ideas are basic to the entire composition, with the text and music ‘Credo’ acting as a refrain. The ‘Crucifixus’ is set apart from its surroundings, a soprano aria with the simplest possible accompaniment, the melody studded with chromatic alterations, the middle section modulating rapidly through the octave by minor 3rds. Here, as elsewhere in the mass, Rossini tended to be somewhat literal about his chromatic techniques, but within the context they seem entirely appropriate. The Petite messe solennelle has continued to impress later generations as a deep revelation of the man whose outward character often seemed a mere witticism.

10. Gioachino Rossini: photograph by Nadar

Mansell / Time Pix / Katz
View large

In his last years Rossini lived in honoured retirement, a composer whose fame rested on work done 40 years before, and yet a composer who after a long silence had recovered his voice. Neither an anachronism, then, nor part of current musical trends, he was content to write for himself and his circle, while expounding to those who would listen his attitudes towards art and stories of his youth. Accounts of these years were published by many, including Hiller, Saint-Saëns and Hanslick. The most significant (even if perhaps in part invented) is the alleged transcription made by Edmond Michotte of the meeting between Rossini and Wagner in 1860. Rossini's last letters too are filled with aesthetic judgments and precepts to Italian composers. He wrote in 1868 to Lauro Rossi, head of the Milan Conservatory: ‘Let us not forget, Italians, that Musical Art is all ideal and expressive … that Delight must be the basis and aim of this Art: Simple Melody – clear Rhythm’. And in an aside, referring to modern tendencies in Italian music, he added: ‘these new gross philosophers … are simply supporters and advocates of those poor musical composers who lack ideas, inspiration!!!’. He expressed similar thoughts later that year in a letter to the Milanese critic Filippo Filippi, a champion of Wagnerian ideals in Italy. Here Rossini also entered into other favourite themes, the decline in vocal art and the need to seek ‘expressive’ rather than ‘imitative’ music. Though aware of his own compositional growth in 20 years of writing opera, he objected to instant progress, the search for extreme novelty that he observed in composers who fell under Wagner's influence. He railed against those who spiced their writings with ‘certain dirty words, such as Progress, or Decadence, Future, Past, Present, convention etc.’, adding:

Do not think, my dear doctor Filippi, that I favour an anti-dramatic system, no indeed; and though I was a virtuoso of Italian bel canto before becoming a composer, I share the philosophic maxim of the great poet who said:

All genres are good,

Except the boring one.

It might be said that Rossini's ideals never changed. When he abandoned composition in 1829 the world was changing, but when he took up his pen again he foreshadowed a movement of neo-classicism one of whose earliest proponents was his young admirer Saint-Saëns, and whose effects can be felt still in the music of Stravinsky. Just as his operas had defined the nature of opera for the first half of the 19th century, the Péchés de vieillesse, the music that cultivated Paris flocked to hear at the ‘Samedi soirs’, cast their spell on a younger generation of French composers.

Rossini fell seriously ill in autumn 1868. Soon afterwards, on 13 November, he died in his villa in Passy. His funeral was attended by thousands, and memorial services were held throughout France and Italy. He was buried in Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Olympe, who had hoped to be buried with him, was persuaded to permit Rossini's remains to be transported to Italy after her death. This occurred in 1887, and at a solemn ceremony on 2 May 1887 Rossini found his final resting-place at S Croce in Florence.

In his will, Rossini left a large endowment to found a conservatory in his birthplace, Pesaro. He also left to Pesaro his remaining autographs, including those of the Péchés de vieillesse.

8. Reputation.

Until recently the image of Rossini as man and artist was distorted. As a man he most often appeared the indolent raconteur, the gourmet, the spirit of an elegant Second Empire salon. This image resulted from the abundance of biographical sources that reflected the period after he withdrew from operatic composition in 1829. Of his active career little was known but what Stendhal related in his brilliant but unreliable Vie de Rossini, what Rossini recounted to visitors in Paris some 40 years later, and what could be pieced together from the bald facts of his performed works and the few published early letters. The fascinating insights into a composer's growth that can be gleaned from the correspondence of Bellini or Verdi, the interrelations of the composer and his librettists, the aesthetic creeds formulated in moments of artistic inspiration, all these seemed to be totally lacking.

The general view of Rossini the composer was equally mistaken. Rossini's historical position was distorted by the prominence of his great comic operas, which are among the last and finest representatives of buffo style. His ties with the 18th century were consequently emphasized, while his position in the 19th was misunderstood. Superb as the buffo operas are, Rossini is historically more important as a composer of opera seria. He threw off 18th-century formulae and codified new conventions that dominated Italian opera for half a century. Between 1810 and 1850 Italian opera was reformed in many ways. Techniques of singing and melodic style altered drastically; the Romantic theatre routed dramatic conventions that had tyrannized both theatre and opera, thus offering a new wellspring of operatic subjects and techniques; the self-image of the composer changed, that of the craftsman giving way to that of the creative artist, while each individual work of art consequently gained new significance. But throughout, Italian opera depended upon the musical forms, the style of orchestration, the rhythmic vitality and the role of music in defining and shaping the drama first developed fully in the operas of Rossini.

The last two decades of the 20th century saw a thorough re-evaluation of Rossini as a man and as a composer. Thanks to the efforts of scholars associated with the Fondazione Rossini of Pesaro, a vast quantity of documentary material from the composer's productive years has been located and published in the first volumes of his Lettere e documenti, edited by Bruno Cagli and Sergio Ragni. This material has greatly enriched our understanding of Rossini's artistic career. Furthermore, a critical edition of the complete works, under the direction of Philip Gossett, is well advanced. It has provided new insight into the composer's art. It has also made his music newly accessible, both the eternally popular comic works and the serious operas. Since 1980 the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, drawing on the work of the Fondazione Rossini, has not only offered carefully studied productions of the operas but has also been responsible for providing a venue in which several generations of singers have been able to master the intricacies of Rossini's vocal practice. Thanks to an abundance of recordings and live productions throughout Europe and the USA, Rossini is no longer simply the composer of some delightful comic operas.



Quaderni rossiniani, ed. Fondazione Rossini (Pesaro, 1954–76) [QR]

Edizione critica delle opere di Gioachino Rossini, ed. Fondazione Rossini (Pesaro, 1979–) [vols. in brackets are in preparation] [EC]

BCR Bologna, Teatro del Corso

FEC Ferrara, Teatro Comunale

LIC Lisbon, Teatro de S Carlos

MSC Milan, Teatro alla Scala

NC Naples, Teatro S Carlo

NFI Naples, Teatro dei Fiorentini

NFO Naples, Teatro del Fondo

PI Paris, Théâtre Italien

PO Paris, Opéra

RA Rome, Teatro Argentina

RAP Rome, Teatro Apollo

RV Rome, Teatro Valle

VB Venice, Teatro S Benedetto

VF Venice, Teatro La Fenice

VM Venice, Teatro S Moisè

* autograph † authenticated MS copy


composed shortly before first performance unless otherwise stated

View large


Genre, acts


First performance

Sources, comments


Demetrio e Polibio

dramma serio, 2

V. Viganò-Mombelli

RV, 18 May 1812, composed c1810

vs (Milan, 1825–6)

La cambiale di matrimonio

farsa comica, 1

G. Rossi, after C. Federici's play (1791) and G. Checcherini's lib for Coccia: Il matrimonio per lettera di cambio (1807)

VM, 3 Nov 1810

vs (Milan, 1847)


L'equivoco stravagante

dg, 2

G. Gasbarri

BCR, 26 Oct 1811

vs (Milan, 1851)

L'inganno felice

farsa, 1

G. Foppa

VM, 8 Jan 1812

vs (Leipzig, 1819), fs (Rome, 1826)

Ciro in Babilonia, ossia La caduta di Baldassare

dramma con cori, 2

F. Aventi

FEC, 14 March 1812

vs (Milan, 1852)

La scala di seta

farsa comica, 1

Foppa, after F.A.E. de Planard: L'échelle de soie, lib for P. Gaveaux (1808)

VM, 9 May 1812

S-Smf*, vs (Milan, 1852)


La pietra del paragone

melodramma giocoso, 2

L. Romanelli

MSC, 26 Sept 1812

I-Mr*, vs (Milan, 1846)


L'occasione fa il ladro

burletta per musica, 1

L. Prividali, after E. Scribe: Le prétendu par hazard, ou L'occasion fait le larron (1810)

VM, 24 Nov 1812

F-Pc*, vs (Milan, 1853)


Il signor Bruschino, ossia Il figlio per azzardo

farsa giocosa, 1

Foppa, after A. de Chazet and E.-T. Maurice Ourry: Le fils par hazard, ou Ruse et folie (1809)

VM, 27 Jan 1813

Pc*, vs (Milan, 1854)



melodramma eroico, 2

Rossi and L. Lechi, after Voltaire

VF, 6 Feb 1813

I-Ms*, excerpts B-Bmichotte*, private collection*, vs (Leipzig, 1817)


L'italiana in Algeri

dg, 2

A. Anelli, orig. for L. Mosca (1808)

VB, 22 May 1813

I-Mr*, excerpt Ms*, vs (Mainz, c1819)


Aureliano in Palmira

dramma serio, 2

F. Romani, after G. Sertor's lib for Anfossi: Zenobia in Palmira (1790)

MSC, 26 Dec 1813

B-Bmichotte* (frag.), vs (Milan, 1855)

Il turco in Italia

dramma buffo, 2

Romani, after C. Mazzolà's lib for F. Seydelmann (1788)

MSC, 14 Aug 1814

I-Mr*, vs (Leipzig, 1821)



dramma, 2


VF, 26 Dec 1814

Mr*, vs (Milan, 1826)


Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra

dramma, 2

G. Schmidt, after Carlo Federici's play (1814) based on S. Lee: The Recess (novel, 1783–5)

NC, 4 Oct 1815

PESr* (facs. in ERO, vii, 1979), vs (Leipzig, 1819–20)

Torvaldo e Dorliska

dramma semiserio, 2

C. Sterbini, based on J.-B. de Coudry: Vie et amours du chevalier de Faubles (1790) and the Lodoiska libs (set by Cherubini, Kreutzer, Mayr etc.) derived from it

RV, 26 Dec 1815

F-Pc*, vs (Milan, 1855)

Il barbiere di Siviglia [orig. title Almaviva, ossia L'inutile precauzione]

commedia, 2

Sterbini, after the play by P.-A. Beaumarchais (1775) and G. Petrosellini's lib for Paisiello: Il barbiere di Siviglia (1782)

RA, 20 Feb 1816

I-Bc* (facs. with introduction by P. Gossett, Rome, 1993), vs (Leipzig, 1820), fs (Rome, 1828), critical edn (Milan, 1969)

La gazzetta

dramma [ob], 2

G. Palomba, after C. Goldoni: Il matrimonio per concorso (1763)

NFI, 26 Sept 1816

Nc*, vs (Milan, 1854)


Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia

dramma, 3

F. Berio di Salsa, after W. Shakespeare (J.F. Ducis adaptation)

NFO, 4 Dec 1816

PESr* (facs. in ERO, viii, 1979), vs (Leipzig, 1819–20)


La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo

dg, 2

J. Ferretti, after C. Perrault: Cendrillon (1697), C.-G. Etienne's lib for N. Isouard (1810) and F. Fiorini's lib for S. Pavesi: Agatina, o La virtù premiata (1814)

RV, 25 Jan 1817

Baf* (facs. with introduction by P. Gossett, BMB, xcii, 1969), excerpt PESr*, vs (Paris, 1822–3, or Leipzig, 1823)


La gazza ladra

melodramma, 2

G. Gherardini, after J.M.T. Baudouin d'Aubigny and L.-C. Caigniez: La pie voleuse (1815)

MSC, 31 May 1817

Mr*, vs (Bonn and Cologne, 1819–20)



dramma, 3

Schmidt, after T. Tasso: Gerusalemme liberata

NC, 9 Nov 1817

PESr*, excerpt Baf*, vs (Paris, 1823–5, or Leipzig 1823–4)


Adelaide di Borgogna

dramma, 2


RA, 27 Dec 1817

vs (Milan, 1858)

Mosè in Egitto

azione tragico-sacra, 3

A.L. Tottola, after F. Ringhieri: L'Osiride (1760)

NC, 5 March 1818; with rev. Act 3, 7 March 1819

F-Pc* (facs. in ERO, ix, 1979), vs (Paris, 1822), fs (Rome, 1825); rev. as Moïse et Pharaon, 1827


Adina, o Il califfo di Bagdad

farsa, 1

G. Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini

LIC, 12 June 1826; composed 1818

I-PESr*, vs (Milan, 1859)


Ricciardo e Zoraide

dramma, 2

Berio di Salsa, after N. Forteguerri: Il Ricciardetto, cantos xiv and xv

NC, 3 Dec 1818

Nc*, vs (Mainz, 1821–2), fs (Rome, 1829/R1980 in ERO, x)



azione tragica, 2

Tottola, after J. Racine: Andromaque

NC, 27 March 1819

F-Po*, excerpt I-PESr*, vs (Milan, 1858)


Eduardo e Cristina

dramma, 2

Schmidt, rev. Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini and Tottola from orig. lib for Pavesi: Odoardo e Cristina (1810)

VB, 24 April 1819

vs (Paris, 1826–7)

La donna del lago

melodramma, 2

Tottola, after W. Scott: The Lady of the Lake (1810)

NC, 24 Oct 1819

PESr*, vs (Paris, 1822–3)


Bianca e Falliero, ossia Il consiglio dei tre

melodramma, 2

Romani, after A.-V. Arnault: Blanche et Montcassin, ou Les Vénitiens (1798)

MSC, 26 Dec 1819

Mr*, vs (Milan, 1828)


Maometto II

dramma, 2

C. della Valle, after own play Anna Erizo (1820)

NC, 3 Dec 1820

PESr* (inc.), excerpts GB-Lbl*, US-NYp*, I-PAc (facs. in ERO, xi, 1981), vs (Vienna, 1823); rev. as Le siège de Corinthe, 1826


Matilde (di) Shabran, ossia Bellezza, e cuor di ferro

melodramma giocoso, 2

Ferretti, after F.-B. Hoffmann's lib for Méhul: Euphrosine (1790) and J.M. Boutet de Monvel: Mathilde (play, 1799)

RAP, 24 Feb 1821

B-Bmichotte*, vs (Vienna, 1822), fs (Rome, 1833)



dramma, 2

Tottola, after Dormont de Belloy (1762)

NC, 16 Feb 1822

F-Pc* (facs. in ERO, xii, 1979), excerpts B-Bmichotte* I-PESr*, vs (Vienna, 1822)



melodramma tragico, 2

Rossi, after Voltaire

VF, 3 Feb 1823

Vt* (facs. in ERO, xiii, 1978), vs (Vienna, 1823), fs (Rome, 1826)


Il viaggio a Reims, ossia L'albergo del giglio d'oro

dg, 1

L. Balocchi, after A.-L.-G. de Staël: Corinne, ou L'Italie (1807)

PI, 19 June 1825

excerpts Rc*, other orig. material A-Wn, F-Pc


Le siège de Corinthe

tragédie lyrique, 3

Balocchi and A. Soumet, after lib for Maometto II

PO, 9 Oct 1826

rev. of Maometto II, 1820; excerpts Pc*, Po*, I-FOc* and elsewhere, vs (Paris, 1826), fs (Paris, 1826–7/R1980 in ERO, xiv)

Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge

opéra, 4

Balocchi and E. de Jouy, after lib for Mosè in Egitto

PO, 26 March 1827

rev. of Mosè in Egitto, 1818–19; excerpts F-Pc*, US-NYp*, STu*, Wc* and elsewhere, vs and fs (Paris, 1827/R1980 in ERO, xv)

Le comte Ory

opéra [oc], 2

Scribe and C.-G. Delestre-Poirson, after their own play (1817)

PO, 20 Aug 1828

partial rev. of Il viaggio a Reims, 1825; excerpts B-Bmichotte*, F-Po*, vs and fs (Paris, 1828/R1978 in ERO, xvi)

Guillaume Tell

opéra, 4

Jouy, H.-L.-F. Bis and others, after F. von Schiller (1804)

PO, 3 Aug 1829

Pc*, vs and fs (Paris, 1829/R1980 in ERO, xvii)


View large


View large

Title, performing forces

Composition, first performance

MS, publication


student compositions, incl.:


Lugo, Civico Liceo Musicale Giuseppe e Luigi Malerbi*

Kyrie a tre voci, 2 T, B, orch

Gloria, A, T, B, male chorus, orch

Laudamas, A, bn, orch

Gratias, T, male chorus, orch

Domine Deus, 2 B, orch

Qui tollis, T, orch

Laudamus, Qui tollis, T, vn, orch

Quoniam, B, orch

Crucifixus, S, A, orch

Dixit, 2 T, B, orch

De torrente, B, orch

Gloria Patri, T, orch

Sicut erat, 2 T, B, orch

Magnificat, 2 T, B, orch

Messa (Bologna), 3 sections

Bologna, Chiesa della Madonna di S Luca, 2 June 1808

I-Bc (3 MSS, incl. 2*)

composite mass by students at the Liceo Musicale

Qui tollis; Qui sedes, S, hn, orch

Christe eleison, 2 T, B, orch

Benedicta et venerabilis, grad, 2 T, B, orch

Qui tollis; Qui sedes, S, hn, orch

Messa (Ravenna), solo male vv, male chorus, orch; another version for S, A, T, B, male chorus, orch

Ravenna, 1808

RAs, excerpts in Ravenna, Istituto Musicale Pareggiato G. Verdi*, and in Lugo, Civico Liceo Musicale Giuseppe e Luigi Malerbi*

only Kyrie, Gloria and Credo

Messa, solo male vv, male chorus, orch



only Kyrie, Gloria and Credo

Messa (Rimini), S, A, T, B, orch

Rimini Cathedral, 1809

F-Pc, vs (Paris, 1881)

only Kyrie and Gloria

Quoniam, B, orch

Sept 1813

vs and fs (Milan, 1851)

Messa di gloria, solo vv, chorus, orch

Naples, S Ferdinando, 24 March 1820

I-Nc†, frag. in B-Bmichotte*, vs (Paris, 1860), EC [III/ii]

Preghiera ‘Deh tu pietoso cielo’, S, pf


(Naples, 1828)

Tantum ergo, S, T, B, orch


Rieti, Biblioteca Comunale

Stabat mater, 2 S, T, B, chorus, orch

1st version

1832; Madrid, Cappella di S Filippo El Real, Good Friday, 1833

GB-Lbl*, vs (Paris, 1841)

12 nos., 6 by Rossini, others by G. Tadolini

2nd version

1841; PI, 7 Jan 1842

Lbl*, vs and fs (Paris, 1841–2)

10 nos., all by Rossini

3 choeurs religieux, female vv, pf

Paris, Salle Troupenas, 20 Nov 1844

Paris, 1844

1 La foi (P. Goubaux)

2 L'espérance (H. Lucas)

3 La charité (L. Colet)

Tantum ergo, 2 T, B, orch

Bologna, Chiesa di S Francesco dei Minori, 28 Nov 1847

I-Mr*, vs and fs (Milan, 1851)

O salutaris hostia, S, A, T, B

29 Nov 1857

pubd in La maîtrise (15 Dec 1857)

facs. in Azevedo (C1864)

Laus Deo, Mez, pf


pubd in Il piovano arlotto (Florence, 1861)

Petite messe solennelle

1st version, 12 (solo) vv, 2 pf, hmn

1863; Paris, home of Countess L. Pillet-Will, 14 March 1864

PESr*, private collection† (Paris, 1869), EC [III/iv]

4 solo vv, chorus 8vv

2nd version, S, A, T, B, chorus, orch

1867; PI, 24 Feb 1869

PESr*, fs (Paris, 1869)

View large

Cantatas, incidental music, hymns and choruses

Title, genre, performing forces

Composition, first performance

MS, publication

Il pianto d'Armonia sulla morte di Orfeo (cant., G. Ruggia), T, male chorus, orch

Bologna, Liceo Musicale, 11 Aug 1808


La morte di Didone (cant.), S, chorus, orch

1811; VB, 2 May 1818

F-Pn, excerpts, vs (Milan, 1820–21)

Dalle quete e pallid'ombre (cant., P. Venanzio), S, B, pf

Venice, 1812


Apprendete, o cari amanti (cant.), S, 2 vn, vc

Venice, c1812

private collection*

Egle ed Irene (cant.), S, A, pf

Milan, 1814

Vnm* (Milan, 1820)

Inno dell'Indipendenza (‘Sorgi, Italia, venuta è già l'ora’) (G. Giusti), hymn

Bologna, Teatro Contavalli, 15 April 1815


La gratitudine (cant.)

Ferrara, 1815

music lost; lib FEc

L'Aurora (cant.), A, T, B, pf

Rome, Nov 1815

RUS-Mcm, ed. in SovM (1955), no.8, p.60

Giunone, cant. for the birthday of Ferdinando IV, S, chorus, orch

NC, 12 Jan 1816

US-NYp*, EC II/iv

Le nozze di Teti, e di Peleo (cant., A.M. Ricci), 3 S, 2 T, chorus, orch

NF, 24 April 1816

I-Nc*, EC II/iii

Edipo a Colono (Giusti, after Sophocles), incid music, B, male chorus, orch [orchestration completed anon.]

before 1817

US-NYpm*, 1 aria vs (Paris, c1850), EC II/i

Omaggio umiliato a Sua Maestà (cant., A. Niccolini), S, chorus, orch

NC, 20 Feb 1819

I-Nc*; pf solo (Paris, 1864), EC II/iv

Cantata … 9 maggio 1819 (G. Genoino), for Francis I's visit, S, 2 T, chorus, orch

NC, 9 May 1819

US-NYp* (microfilm), EC II/iv

Il voto filiale (cant.), S, pf

Naples, 1820


La riconoscenza (cant., Genoino), S, A, T, B, chorus, orch

NC, 27 Dec 1821

PESr*, vs (Milan, 1826), EC [II/v]

La santa alleanza (cant., G. Rossi), 2 B, chorus, orch

Verona, Arena, 24 Nov 1822


Il vero omaggio (cant., Rossi), Sopranista, S, 2 T, B, chorus, orch

Verona, Teatro Filarmonico, 3 Dec 1822

largely based on La riconoscenza; PESr*, EC [II/v]

Omaggio pastorale (cant.), 3 female vv, orch

Treviso, ?1 April 1823 (MS dated 17 May 1823)

largely based on La riconoscenza; I-TVco*, EC [II/v]

Il pianto delle muse in morte di Lord Byron, canzone, T, chorus, orch

London, Almack's Assembly Rooms, 11 June 1824

GB-Lbl* (London, 1824)

De l'Italie et de la France, ?hymn for Charles X's nameday, S, B, chorus, orch

PI, ?3 Nov 1825

I-PESr*, QR ix, 62–95

Cantata per il battesimo del figlio del banchiere Aguado, 6 solo vv, pf

Paris, home of A.-M. Aguado, 16 July 1827

GB-Lbl*; (Paris, 1827) as 3ème quartetto da camera

L'armonica cetra del nume, in honour of Marchese Sampieri, S, A, T, B, male chorus, fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, bn, 2 hn, hp

Bologna, home of Sampieri, 2 April 1830


Giovanna d'Arco (cant.), S, pf

Paris, 1832

I-PESr*, QR xi, 1–29

Santo Genio dell'Italia terra (G. Marchetti), for tercentenary of Tasso's birth, chorus, orch

Turin, Palazzo Carignano, 11 March 1844

based on Coro dei Bardi from La donna del lago; B-Bmichotte*

Recitatives for a Cantata, Giovanna d'Arco, by Lucio Campiani

Bologna, Conservatorio, 10 July 1845

I-PESr*, ed. in Bollettino del Centro rossiniano di studi, xxiv (1994), 74–89

Su fratelli, letizia si canti (Canonico Golfieri), for Pope Pius IX, chorus, orch

Bologna, Piazza Maggiore, 23 July 1846

based on Coro dei Bardi from La donna del lago; Bc, vs (Milan, 1847)

Cantata in onore del Sommo Pontefice Pio Nono (Marchetti), 4 solo vv, chorus, orch

Rome, Senate (Campidoglio), 1 Jan 1847

private collection†, PESr* (frags.), EC II/vi

Segna Iddio ne' suoi confini (F. Martinelli), chorus of the Guardia Civica of Bologna, acc. arr. D. Liverani for band

Bologna, Piazza Maggiore, 21 June 1848


È foriera la Pace ai mortali (G. Arcangeli, after Bacchilde), hymn, Bar, male vv, pf

26 June 1850

private collection of Baroness F. De Renzis Sonnino, Florence*, QR xii, 1–20

Hymne à Napoléon III et à son vaillant peuple (‘Dieu tout puissant’) (E. Pacini), hymn, Bar, chorus, orch, military band

Paris, Palais de l'Industrie, 1 July 1867

PESr*, vs (London, 1873) as National Hymn, QR xii, 21–85

Miscellaneous vocal

View large

Title, genre, performing forces

Composition; performance

MS, publication


Se il vuol la molinara, S, pf


US-NYpm* (Milan, 1821)

Cara, voi siete quella, T, orch

1806; Forlì, aut. 1806

fs lost; vs (Florence, 1902)

for insertion in Weigl: L'amor marinaro for Antonio Chies

Dolci aurette, T, orch

1809; Ferrara, carn. 1809–10


for insertion in Weigl: Il podestà di Chioggia for Raffaele Monelli

Coro e cavatina ‘Viva Roma e Quinto viva’, ‘Cara Patria, invitta Roma’, S, chorus, orch

1811; Bologna, aut. 1811

F-Pc, vs (Rome, 1822)

for insertion in D. Puccini: Il trionfo di Quinto Fabio for Maria Marcolini

Alla gloria un genio eletto, T, orch

1812; Venice, spr. 1812


for insertion in G. Mosca: Li pretendenti delusi for Raffaele Monelli

La mia pace io già perdei, T, orch



insert aria for Serafino Gentili

Qual voce, quai note, S, pf


A-Wn, private collection, Brescia

Alle voci della gloria, B, orch


I-Ms*, vs (Milan, 1851)

text from F. Bianchi: Tarara, ossia La virtù premiata

Amore mi assisti, S, T, pf



for G. Nicolini: Quinto Fabio

1817; Rome, carn. 1817

1 Aria ‘Guidò Marte i nostri passi’, T, chorus, orch


first pubd as ‘Alme fide a questi accenti’

2 Duet ‘Ah! per pietà t'arresta’, 2 S, orch

collection of Opera Rara, London

possibly not by Rossini

Il trovatore (‘Chi m'ascolta il canto usato’), T, pf


US-Wc* (Naples, 1818)

Il Carnevale di Venezia (‘Siamo ciechi, siamo nati’) (Rossini, Paganini, M. d'Azeglio, Lipparini), 2 T, 2 B, pf

carn. 1821

(Milan, 1847)

facs.* in G. Monaldi: ‘Una canzone inedita di Rossini’, Noi e il mondo (1925), Aug

Beltà crudele (‘Amori scendete’) (N. di Santo-Magno), S, pf


A-Wn*, F-Pc, I-FOc (Naples, 1847)

4th facs.* in J. Subirá: La música en la Casa de Alba (Madrid, 1927)

La pastorella (‘Odia la pastorella’) (Santo-Magno), S, pf


(Naples, 1847)

copy of 1st edn not located, 2nd edn (Milan, c1850)

Canzonetta spagnuola ‘En medio a mis colores’ (‘Piangea un dì pensando’), S, pf


F-Pc (Naples, 1825)

Infelice ch'io son, S, pf



Addio ai viennesi (‘Da voi parto, amate sponde’), T, pf


I-Nc (Vienna, 1822)

also known as Addio di Rossini

Dall'Oriente l'astro del giorno, S, 2 T, B, pf


GB-Lbl* (London and Paris, 1824)

London 1st edn not located

Ridiamo, cantiamo, che tutto sen va, S, 2 T, B, pf


I-Nc (London, 1824)

In giorno sì bello, 2 S, T, pf


GB-Lbl* (London, 1824)

3 quartetti da camera

1 (unidentified)

(Paris, 1827)

copy of 1st edn not located

2 In giorno sì bello, 2 S, T, B, pf


(Paris, 1827)

3 Oh giorno sereno, S, A, T, B, pf


(Paris, 1827)

Les adieux à Rome (‘Rome pour la dernière fois’) (C. Delavigne), T, pf/hp


pubd in C. Delavigne: 7 Messéniennes nouvelles (Paris, 1827)

Orage et beau temps (‘Sur les flots inconstans’) (A. Betourne), T, B, pf


private collection* (Paris, c1832)

La passeggiata (‘Or che di fiori adorno’), S, pf


pubd in Cartas españolas (Madrid, 11 April 1831)

also known as Anacreontica

La dichiarazione (‘Ch'io mai vi possa lasciar d'amare’) (P. Metastasio), S, pf


(Milan, 1834–5)

Les soirées musicales


US-Wc* (no.2 only) (Paris, 1835)

1 La promessa (‘Ch'io mai vi possa lasciar amare’) (Metastasio), S, pf

2 Il rimprovero (‘Mi lagnerò tacendo’) (Metastasio), S, pf

3 La partenza (‘Ecco quel fiero istante’) (Metastasio), S, pf

4 L'orgia (‘Amiamo, cantiamo’) (C. Pepoli), S, pf

5 L'invito (‘Vieni o Ruggiero’) (Pepoli), S, pf

6 La pastorella dell'Alpi (‘Son bella pastorella’) (Pepoli), S, pf

7 La gita in gondola (‘Voli l'agile barchetta’) (Pepoli), S, pf

8 La danza (‘Già la luna è in mezzo al mare’) (Pepoli), T, pf

9 La regata veneziana (‘Voga o Tonio benedetto’) (Pepoli), 2 S, pf

10 La pesca (‘Già la notte s'avvicina’) (Metastasio), 2 S, pf

11 La serenata (‘Mira, la bianca luna’) (Pepoli), S, T, pf

12 Li marinari (‘Marinaro in guardia stà’) (Pepoli), T, B, pf

2 nocturnes (Crével de Charlemagne), S, T, pf


(Paris, 1836)

1 Adieu à l'Italie (‘Je te quitte, belle Italie’)

2 Le départ (‘Il faut partir’)

Nizza (‘Nizza, je puis sans peine’) (E. Deschamps), S, pf


(Paris, c1837)

orig. composed as Mi lagnerò tacendo

L'âme délaissée (‘Mon bien aimé’) (Delavigne), S, pf


(Paris, 1844)

facs. in France musicale, viii (1844); also pubd as L'âme du Purgatoire

Recitativo ritmato (‘Farò come colui che piange e dice’) (Dante), S, pf


I-PESr* (2 copies) (Florence, 1865)

La separazione (‘Muto rimase il labbro’) (F. Uccelli), S, pf


(Paris, c1858)

orig. composed as Mi lagnerò tacendo

2 nouvelles compositions (Pacini), S, pf


(Paris, c1863)

1 A Grenade (‘La nuit règne à Grenade’)

PESr*, QR v, 90–97 (no.1)

2 La veuve andalouse (‘Toi pour jamais’)

L'amante discreto, S, pf


F-Pc* (2 copies), Pn*, I-FOc* (Milan, 1839)

Mi lagnerò tacendo, S, pf

before 1847

F-Pn*, I-Baf*, private collection of R. Lehman, New York*

Mi lagnerò tacendo, S, pf


F-Pc* (3 copies), pubd in Gazette musicale (Paris, 1840)

also pubd (Paris, c1840) as Beppa la Napolitaine

Mi lagnerò tacendo, S, pf


GB-Lbl*, I-Sc* (London, 1959)

Mi lagnerò tacendo, S, pf

private collection of M. and R. Floersheim, Switzerland*

facs.* in E. Winternitz: Musical Autographs from Monteverdi to Hindemith (Princeton, NJ, 1955), pl.103

View large
Mi lagnerò tacendo (Metastasio), numerous versions composed as albumleaves, of which the following are representative:


View large

Title, key, performing forces


MS, publication


6 sonate a quattro, G, A, C, B♭, E♭, D, 2 vn, vc, db


US-Wc† (pts), nos.1, 2, 4–6 (Milan, 1825–6), QR i (complete)

1st edn pubd for str qt

Sinfonia ‘al Conventello’, D, orch


Ravenna, Istituto Musicale Pareggiato G. Verdi


5 duets, E♭, E♭, B♭, E♭, E♭, 2 hn


ed. (Hamburg, 1861)

source for this edn unknown

Sinfonia, D, orch




Sinfonia, E♭, orch



EC VI/i; rev. as ov. to La cambiale di matrimonio

Grand'overtura obbligata a contrabbasso, D, orch


Ravenna, Istituto Musicale Pareggiato G. Verdi


Variazioni a più istrumenti obbligati, F, 2 vn, va, vc, cl, orch


Bc, QR ix, 1–44

Variazioni a clarinetto, C, cl, orch


Bc, pts (Leipzig, 1824), QR vi, 57–67

Andante e Tema con variazioni, F, fl, cl, hn, bn


F-Pc* (Paris and Mainz, 1827–8), QR vi, 18–30

Terzetto, hn, bn, pf



mentioned in a Rossini letter of 20 Oct 1812

La notte, la preghiera, la caccia, 2 fl, 2 vn, va, vc


private collection*

Andante con variazioni, F, hp, vn


(Naples, 1820–24), QR vi, 1–8

Passo doppio, military band



mentioned in Radiciotti (1927–9)

Waltz, E♭, pf


Pc*, I-FOc*

3rd facs.* in RGMP, viii (1841)

Serenata, E♭, 2 vn, va, vc, fl, ob, eng hn


US-NYp*, pts (Leipzig, 1829), QR vi, 31–56

Duetto, D, vc, db


(London, 1969)

autograph sold at Sotheby's, London, 1968

Rendez-vous de chasse, D, 4 corni da caccia, orch


F-Pc* (Paris, 1828), QR ix, 45–61

Fantasie, E♭, cl, pf


(Paris, 1829)

Three marches, military band


pts (Leipzig, 1837), pf, 4 hands (Naples, 1837–8)

pubd in various orders; Naples (Girard), as Mariage du duc d'Orléans (order: nos.3, 1, 2, with no.2 in G major)

1 Passage du Balcan, grande marche, E♭

2 Prise d'Erivan, pas redoublé, E♭

3 Assaut de Varsovie, pas redoublé, E♭

Scherzo, a, pf

1843, rev. 1850

Pc*, rev. version I-MOe (Milan, n.d.)

Tema originale di Rossini variato per violino da Giovacchino Giovacchini, A, vn, pf


B-Bmichotte*, I-Fc* (theme only)

March (‘Pas-redoublé’), C, military band


(Milan, 1853)

Thème de Rossini suivi de deux variations et coda par Moscheles Père, E, hn, pf


(Leipzig, n.d.)

La corona d'Italia, E♭, military band


I-PESr† (Rome, 1878)

View large

Péchés de vieillesse (1857–68)

Essentially complete set of autograph MSS in Fondazione Rossini; large set of authenticated MS copies in US-CA; for a somewhat different ordering, see autograph catalogue of these pieces in B-Bmichotte


Album italiano; EC VII/i


Quartettino ‘I gondolieri’ (? G. Torre), S, A, T, B, pf [? orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Arietta ‘La lontananza’ (Torre), T, pf (London, c1880)


Bolero ‘Tirana alla spagnola (rossinizzata)’ (P. Metastasio), S, pf; music identical with vol.xi, no.3


Elegia ‘L'ultimo ricordo’ (G. Redaelli), Bar, pf (Paris, c1880–85)


Arietta ‘La fioraja fiorentina’ (?Torre), S, pf [? orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Duetto ‘Le gittane’ (Torre), S, A, pf (London, c1880) [orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Ave Maria su due sole note (Torre), A, pf [? orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


La regata veneziana, 3 canzonettas (F.M. Piave), Mez, pf (Milan, 1878)


Anzoleta avanti la regata (Barcarolle ‘Plus de vent perfide’)


Anzoleta co passa la regata


Anzoleta dopo la regata


Arietta (Sonetto) ‘Il fanciullo smarrito’ (A. Castellani), T, pf, pubd in Strenna del giornale la lega della democrazia (Rome, 1881)


Quartettino ‘La passeggiata’, S, A, T, B, pf


Album français (E. Pacini); EC VII/ii


Ottettino ‘Toast pour le nouvel an’, 2 S, 2 A, 2 T, 2 B


Roméo, T, pf


Ariette ‘Pompadour, la grande coquette’, S, pf [orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Complainte à deux voix (‘Un sou’), T, Bar, pf


Chanson de Zora (‘La petite bohémienne’) (E. Deschamps), Mez, pf


La nuit de Noël, B solo, 2 S, 2 A, 2 T, 2 Bar, pf, hmn


Ariette ‘Le dodo des enfants’, Mez, pf [orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Chansonette de cabaret (‘Le lazzarone’), Bar, pf


Elégie (‘Adieux à la vie’), sur une seule note, Mez, pf, I-PESr † [orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Nocturne (‘Soupirs et sourire’), S, T, pf, also with It. text as II cipresso, e la rosa (Torre)


Ballade élégie (‘L'orphéline du Tyrol’), Mez, pf (Paris, c1880–85)


Choeur de chasseurs démocrates, male vv, tam-tam, 2 tamburi


Morceaux réservés; EC VII/ii


Quelques mesures de chant funèbre: à mon pauvre ami Meyerbeer (Pacini), male vv, tamburo


Arietta ‘L'esule’ (Torre), T, pf


Tirana pour deux voix (‘Les amants de Séville’) (Pacini), A, T, pf


Ave Maria, S, A, T, B, org (London, 1873)


L'amour à Pékin: petite mélodie sur la gamme chinoise (Pacini), A, pf


Le chant des Titans (Pacini), 4 B, pf, hmn, arr. 4 B, orch, vs (London, 1873); QR viii, 66–89 (orch version) [orig. written to text Mi lagnerò tacendo]


Preghiera (Torre), 4 T, 2 Bar, 2 B [also with Fr. text ‘Dieu créateur du monde’ (Pacini)]


Elégie (‘Au chevet d'un mourant’) (Pacini), S, pf


Romance ‘Le sylvain’ (Pacini), T, pf


Cantemus: imitazione ad otto voci reali, 2 S, 2 A, 2 T, 2 B (London, 1873)


Ariette à l'ancienne (J.-J. Rousseau), Mez, pf


Tyrolienne sentimentale (‘Le départ des promis’) (Pacini), 2 S, 2 A, pf


Un peu de tout: recueil de 56 morceaux semi-comiques pour le piano


Quatre mendiants et quatre hors d'oeuvres; QR xix

Quatre mendiants


Les figues sèches, D


Les amandes, G (Paris, c1880–85)


Les raisins, C


Les noisettes, b-B

Quatre hors d'oeuvres


Les radis, a


Les anchois, D


Les cornichons, E


Le beurre, B♭


Album pour les enfants adolescents


Première Communion, E♭; QR xv, 1–10


Thème naïf et variations idem, G; QR xv, 11–20


Saltarello à l'italienne, A♭; QR xv, 21–9


Prélude moresque, e; QR xv, 30–40


Valse lugubre, C (Paris, c1880–85); QR xv, 41–7


Impromptu anodin, E♭; QR xv, 48–58


L'innocence italienne; La candeur française, a, A; QR ii, 19–29


Prélude convulsif, C (Milan, c1879); QR xv, 59–71


La lagune de Venise à l'expiration de l'année 1861!!!, G♭; QR xv, 72–82


Ouf! les petits pois, B; QR ii, 30–36


Un sauté, D; QR xv, 83–92


Hachis romantique, a; QR xv, 93–105


Mon prélude hygiénique du matin, C; QR x, 28–37


Prélude baroque, a; QR xvi, 1–15


Memento homo, c (Paris, c1880–85); QR x, 87–93


Assez de memento: dansons, F; QR x, 94–103


La pesarese, B♭ (Paris, c1880–85); QR x, 60–67


Valse torturée, D; QR xvi, 16–28


Une caresse à ma femme, G (Paris, c1880–85); QR ii, 37–41


Barcarole, E♭; QR xvi, 29–37


Un petit train de plaisir comico-imitatif, C; QR ii, 42–58


Fausse couche de polka mazurka, A♭; QR xvi, 38–45


Etude asthmatique, E; QR xvi, 46–66


Un enterrement en Carnaval, D; QR x, 68–86

Album pour les enfants dégourdis


Album de chaumière


Gymnastique d'écartement, A♭ (Paris, c1880–85); QR xiv, 1–17


Prélude fugassé, E; QR xiv, 18–24


Petite polka chinoise, b (Milan, c1878); QR xiv, 25–34


Petite valse de boudoir, A♭; QR xiv, 35–42


Prélude inoffensif, C; QR ii, 8–18


Petite valse (‘L'huile de Ricin’), E; QR xiv, 43–61


Un profond sommeil; Un reveil en sursaut, b, D, 1st pt ed. G. Puccio, Alfonso Rendano (Rome, 1937); QR xiv, 62–90 (both pts)


Plein-chant chinois, scherzo, a; QR xiv, 91–103


Un cauchemar, E; QR xiv, 104–25


Valse boiteuse, D♭ (Milan, c1879); QR xiv, 126–36


Une pensée à Florence, a; QR xiv, 137–49


Marche, C; QR xiv, 150–64


Album de château


Spécimen de l'ancien régime, E♭; QR ii, 59–82


Prélude pétulant-roccoco, G; QR xvii, 1–16


Un regret; Un espoir, E (Paris, c1880–85); QR xvii, 17–32


Boléro tartare, a; QR xvii, 33–59


Prélude prétentieux, c-C; QR x, 1–10


Spécimen de mon temps, A♭; QR x, 38–59


Valse anti-dansante, F; QR xvii, 60–77


Prélude semipastorale, A; QR xvii, 78–108


Tarantelle pur sang (avec Traversée de la procession), b, chorus, hmn and clochette ad lib, full scoring (Milan, c1879); QR ii, 83–101 (as pf solo)


Un rêve, b; QR x, 11–27


Prélude soi-disant dramatique, F♯; QR xvii, 109–31


Spécimen de l'avenir, E♭; QR x, 104–25


[Album pour piano, violon, violoncelle, harmonium et cor]


Mélodie candide, A, pf; QR xvi, 67–73


Chansonette, E♭, pf; QR xvi, 87–94


La savoie aimante, a, pf; QR xvi, 74–86


Un mot à Paganini, élégie, D, vn, pf


Impromptu tarantellisé, F, pf; QR xvi, 95–106


Echantillon du chant de Noël à l'italienne, E♭, pf; QR ii, 102–7


Marche et reminiscences pour mon dernier voyage, A♭, pf; QR ii, 108–16


Prélude, thème et variations, E, hn, pf; QR iii, 1–17


Prélude italien, A♭, pf; QR xvi, 107–19


Une larme: thème et variations, a, vc, pf


Echantillon de blague mélodique sur les noires de la main droite, G♭, pf (Milan, c1879)


Petite fanfare à quatre mains, E♭, pf, pf 4 hands



Prélude blageur, a; QR xviii, 1–20


Des tritons s'il vous plaît (montée-descente), C; QR xviii, 21–4


Petite pensée, E♭; QR xviii, 25–8


Une bagatelle, E♭ (Paris, c1880–85); QR xviii, 29–30


Mélodie italienne: une bagatelle (‘In nomine Patris’), A♭ (Paris, c1880–85); QR xviii, 31–2


Petite caprice (style Offenbach), C (Paris, c1880–85); QR ii, 1–7

Miscellanée pour piano


Miscellanée de musique vocale


Ariette villageoise (J.-J. Rousseau), S, pf; QR v, 72–4


La chanson du bébé (Pacini), Mez, pf; QR v, 25–8


Amour sans espoir (‘Tirana all'espagnole rossinizé’) (Pacini), S, pf, music identical with vol.i, no.3, EC VII/i


A ma belle mère (‘Requiem eternam’), A, pf; QR xi, 58–9


O salutaris, de campagne, A, pf (London, c1880)


Aragonese (Metastasio), S, pf; QR iv, 44–50


Arietta all'antica, dedotta dal O salutaris ostia (Metastasio), S, pf, based on O salutaris hostia (29 Nov 1857); QR iv, 60–61


Il candore in fuga, 2 S, A, T, B


Salve amabilis Maria (‘Hymne à la musique’), motet, S, A, T, B; QR vii, 77–83


Giovanna d'Arco (cant.), S, pf; QR xi, 1–29


Quelques riens pour album, 24 pieces, pf (Paris, c1880–85)

EC VII/vii


6 petites mélodies

1 A, pf; 2 Bar, pf; 3–4 S, pf; 5 Mez, pf; 6 Bar, pf

Musique anodine (Metastasio), 15 April 1857


Prélude, pf

Other late works

MSS in I-PESr unless otherwise stated

Canone scherzosa a quattro soprani democratici, 4 S, pf

Canone antisavant (Rossini), 3vv

Canzonetta ‘La vénitienne’, C, pf; QR xviii, 33–45

Petite promenade de Passy à Courbevoie, C, pf

Une réjouissance, a, pf; QR xviii, 46–51

Encore un peu de blague, C, pf; QR xviii, 52–4

Tourniquet sur la gamme chromatique, ascendante et déscendante, C, pf; QR xviii, 55–62

Ritournelle gothique, C, pf; QR xviii, 63

Un rien (pour album): Ave Maria, S, pf; QR xi, 60

Pour album: Sogna il guerrier (Metastasio), Bar, pf

Brindisi ‘Del fanciullo il primo canto’, B, chorus

Solo per violoncello, a; QR vi, 9–17 [with added pf acc.]

L'ultimo pensiero (‘Patria, consorti, figli’) (L.F. Cerutti), Bar, ?pf, B-Bmichotte*


Teodora e Ricciardino, introduction to opera, sketched c1815, I-PESr*

Gorgheggi e solfeggi, studies, 1v, pf, c1827 (Paris, 1827)

15 petits exercises, 1v, 1858 (Paris, c1880)

Petit gargouillement, exercise, 1v, 1867, F-Po*

Giovinetta pellegrina, variations on a romance by N. Vaccai, ed. in Cronaca musicale, xvi (1912)

Vocal variants, cadenzas etc. for Rossini's operas, B-Bmichotte*, F-Po*, I-Mc*, US-Cu*, NYpm*, and elsewhere

Miscellaneous autograph albumleaves in private and public collections

adaptations involving rossini's participation

Ivanhoé (op, E. Deschamps and G.-G. de Wailly), Paris, Odéon, 15 Sept 1826, MS excerpts in GB-Lbl*, fs (Paris, 1826) [adapted by A. Pacini from several of Rossini's operas]

Robert Bruce (op, A. Reyer and G. Vaëz), PO, 30 Dec 1846, fs (Paris, 1847) [adapted by A.-L. Niedermeyer from several of Rossini's operas, esp. La donna del lago]

Works not traced or of uncertain authenticity


Miserere, solo vv, chorus, orch; fs (Leipzig, 1831) as Trost und Erhebung

Dixit Domino, solo vv, chorus, orch, I-Mc

Other vocal

Aria di Filippuccio (‘Il secreto se si perde’), buffo v, orch, ed. (Trieste, 1892)

La calabrese (‘Colla lanterna magica’), S, A, pf, I-Vc

Duetto buffo di due gatti, 2 solo vv, pf, I-PESr; QR iv, 1–4 (spurious)

Ariette de Perruchini (‘Gondolier la mer t'appelle’), ‘arrangée en barcarolle par son ami R[ossini]’ and sung in C. Delavigne’s play Marino Faliero (Paris, c1829)

Quando giunse qua Belfior, S, orch, ?1824–35, I-FOc, ed. A. Garbelotto, 6 arie inedite (Padua, 1968)

Il rimprovero (‘Se fra le trecce d'Ebano’), S, pf, ed. (Florence, 1944)

Vieni sull'onde, S, T, pf, B-Bmichotte

L'absence (? Paris, n.d.), mentioned in Radiciotti (C1927–9), iii, 250; not traced

Il baco da seta, ?1862 (? Paris, 1862), mentioned in Montazio (C1862), 125; not traced


Sinfonia di Odense, A, orch, MS pts in Odense; QR viii, 17–65 (spurious)


    A: Source materials
  • G. Mazzatinti: Lettere inedite di Gioacchino Rossini (Imola, 1890, 2/1892 as Lettere inedite e rare di G. Rossini, rev. 3/1902 as Lettere di G. Rossini, with F. and G. Manis)
  • A. Allmayer: Undici lettere di Gioachino Rossini pubblicate per la prima volta (Siena, 1892)
  • G. Biagi: ‘Undici lettere inedite di G. Rossini’, Onoranze fiorentine a Gioachino Rossini, ed. R. Gandolfi (Florence, 1902), 101–12
  • R. De Rensis: ‘Rossini intimo: lettere all'amico Santocanale’, Musica d'oggi, 13 (1931), 343–53
  • F. Schlitzer, ed.: Rossiniana: contributo all'epistolario di G. Rossini (Siena, 1956)
  • F. Schlitzer: Mobili e immobili di Rossini a Firenze: lettere inedite a un avvocato (Florence, 1957)
  • F. Schlitzer: Un piccolo carteggio inedito di Rossini con un impresario italiano a Vienna (Florence, 1959)
  • F. Walker: ‘Rossiniana in the Piancastelli Collection’, MMR, 90 (1960), 138–47, 203–13
  • V. Viviani, ed.: I libretti di Rossini (Milan, 1965), i: Il barbiere di Siviglia – La Cenerentola; ii: Mosè – Guglielmo Tell
  • P. Gossett: ‘Le fonti autografe delle opere teatrali di Rossini’, NRMI, 2 (1968), 936–60
  • P. Gossett: The Operas of Rossini: Problems of Textual Criticism in Nineteenth-Century Opera (diss., Princeton U., 1970)
  • P. Gossett, A. Zedda and B. Cagli: ‘Criteri per l'edizione critica delle opere di Gioachino Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1974), no.1 [whole issue]
  • P. Fabbri: ‘Presenze rossiniane negli archivi ravennati: due inediti, un autografo ed altro’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1978), 5–30
  • F. Lippmann: ‘Autographe Briefe Rossinis und Donizettis in der Bibliothek Massino, Rom’, AnMc, no.19 (1979), 330–35
  • P. Fabbri: ‘Alla scuola dei Malerbi: altri autografi rossiniani’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1980), 5–37
  • J. Kallberg: ‘Marketing Rossini: sei lettere di Troupenas ad Artaria’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1980), 41–63
  • B. Cagli: ‘Rossini a Londra e al Théâtre Italien di Parigi: con documenti inediti dell'impresario G.B. Benelli’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1981), 5–53
  • M. Modugno: ‘Discografia rossiniana’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1982), 55–100; (1984), 53–126; (1986), 73–85
  • M. Viale Ferrero: ‘Per Rossini: un primo tentativo di iconografia scenografica’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1982), 5–28
  • B. Cagli and M. Bucarelli, eds.: La casa di Rossini: catalogo del museo (Modena, 1989)
  • A. Caswell, ed.: Embellished Opera Arias (Madison, WI, 1989)
  • M. Beghelli and N. Gallino, eds.: Tutti i libretti di Rossini (Milan, 1991)
  • S. Ragni, ed.: Rossini a Napoli 1815–1822: la conquista di una capitale (Naples, 1991)
  • P.B. Brauner: ‘Opera omnia di Gioachino Rossini: norme editoriali integrative per i curatori’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1992), 157–69
  • J.-M. Bruson, ed.: Rossini à Paris, Musée Carnavalet, 27 Oct – 31 Dec 1992 (Paris, 1992) [exhibition catalogue]
  • B. Cagli and S. Ragni, eds.: Gioachino Rossini: lettere e documenti, i: 29 Feb 1792 – 17 March 1822(Pesaro, 1992); ii: 21 March 1822 – 11 Oct 1826 (Pesaro, 1996), iii: 17 October – 30 December 1830 (Pesaro, 2000)
  • M. Bucarelli, ed.: Rossini 1792–1992: mostra storico-documentaria (Pesaro, 1992)
  • M. Bucarelli, ed.: Rossini e Firenze: immagini e note (Florence, 1993)
  • C. Carlini: Gioacchino Rossini: lettere agli amici (Forlì, 1993)
  • P. Gossett: ‘The Rossini Thematic Catalog: When does Bibliographical Access become Bibliographical Excess?’, Foundations in Music Bibliography, ed. R. Green (New York, 1993), 271–80
  • J. Johnson: ‘Rossini in Bologna and Paris during the Early 1830s: New Letters’, RdM, 79 (1993), 63–81
  • L. Kantner and M. Jahn: ‘Fonti rossiniane a Vienna’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1993), 93–120
  • M. Biggi: ‘Scenografie rossiniane di Giuseppe Borsato’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1995), 61–83
  • A. Di Profio: ‘Inediti rossiniani a Parigi: il Fondo Rossini-Hentsch alla Bibliothèque G. Mahler’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1995), 5–59
    B: Memoirs by contemporaries
  • Stendhal: Rome, Naples et Florence en 1817 (Paris, 1817, 3/1826; Eng. trans., 1959); ed. D. Muller, Oeuvres complètes, xii–xiv (Geneva, 1968)
  • Guerre aux rossinistes (Paris, 1821)
  • G. Righetti-Giorgi: Cenni di una donna già cantante sopra il maestro Rossini (Bologna, 1823; repr. in Rognoni [C1956], 3/1977)
  • G. Carpani: Le rossiniane, ossia Lettere musico-teatrali (Padua, 1824/R)
  • R. Mount Edgcumbe: Musical Reminiscences of an Old Amateur (London, 1824)
  • H. Berton: De la musique mécanique et de la musique philosophique (Paris, 1826)
  • J. Ebers: Seven Years of the King's Theatre (London, 1828/R)
  • J.-L. d'Ortigue: De la guerre des dilettanti (Paris, 1829)
  • P. Brighenti: Della musica rossiniana e del suo autore (Bologna, 1830, 2/1833)
  • H.F. Chorley: Thirty Years' Musical Recollections (London, 1862, 2/1926)
  • L. Escudier: Mes souvenirs (Paris, 1863)
  • G. Pacini: Le mie memorie artistiche (Florence, 1865); ed. F. Magnani (Florence, 1875/R1978 in BMB, section 3, lix)
  • F. Hiller: ‘Plaudereien mit Rossini (1856)’, Aus dem Tonleben unserer Zeit, 2 (Leipzig, 1868, 2/1871), 1–84; repr., ed. G.J. Joerg, in Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi(1992), 63–155
  • R. Wagner: ‘Eine Erinnerung an Rossini’, Allgemeine Zeitung [Augsburg] (17 Dec 1868); repr. in Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen, viii (Leipzig, 1873, 6/1914 as Sämtliche Schriften und Dichtungen; Eng. trans. in Richard Wagner’s Prose Works, ed. W.A. Ellis, iv, 1895/R), 269–74
  • M. Beulé: Eloge de Rossini (Paris, 1869)
  • F. Mordani: Della vita privata di Gioacchino Rossini: memorie inedite (Imola, 1871)
  • G. De Sanctis: Gioacchino Rossini: appunti di viaggio (Rome, 1878)
  • G. Duprez: Souvenirs d'un chanteur (Paris, 1880)
  • E. Branca: Felice Romani ed i più riputati maestri di musica del suo tempo (Turin, 1882)
  • G. Dupré: Ricordi autobiografici (Florence, 1895, 2/1896 as Pensieri sull'arte e ricordi autobiografici)
  • A. Cametti: Un poeta melodrammatico romano: appunti e notizie in gran parte inedite sopra Jacopo Ferretti e i musicisti del suo tempo (Milan, 1898) [orig. pubd in GMM, lii–liii (1897–8)]
  • E. Michotte: Souvenirs personnels: la visite de R. Wagner à Rossini [Paris, 1860] (Paris, 1906; repr. in Rognoni [C1956], 3/1977; Eng. trans., ed. H. Weinstock, 1968)
  • E. Michotte: Souvenirs: une soirée chez Rossini à Beau-Séjour (Passy) 1858 (Brussels, c1910; Eng. trans., ed. H. Weinstock, 1968)
  • C. Saint-Saëns: Ecole buissonnière (Paris, 1913; Eng. trans., 1919, as Musical Memories)
  • Stendhal: Mélanges d'art, ed. H. Martineau (Paris, 1932)
  • P. Fabbri: ‘Le memorie teatrali di Carlo Ritorni, “Rossiniste de 1815”’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1981), 85–128
  • A. Gerhard: ‘Incantesimo o specchio dei costumi: un'estetica dell'opera del librettista di Guillaume Tell’ [V.-J.E. de Jouy, Essai sur l'opéra français], Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1987), 45–91
  • P. Ciarlantini: ‘Una testimonianza sul teatro musicale degli inizi dell'Ottocento: il saggio “Dell'opera in musica” di Nicola Tacchinardi’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1989), 63–135
  • M. Spada: ‘Francesco Rangone e la Narrazione sullo Stabat mater a Bologna con altri documenti’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1989), 5–46
  • P. Ciarlantini: ‘Andrea Maier e il suo Discorso sulla musica italiana (1821)’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1996), 67–129
  • F.P. Russo, ed.: ‘ Jacopo Ferretti: alcune pagine della mia vita: Delle vicende della poesia melodrammatica in Roma, memoria seconda’, Recercare, 8 (1996), 157–94
    C: Principal biographies
  • Stendhal: Vie de Rossini (Paris, 1824, 2/1854); ed. H. Prunières (Paris, 1922); Eng. trans., ed. R.N. Coe (London, 1956, 2/1970)
  • A. Wendt: Rossinis Leben und Treiben (Leipzig, 1824)
  • Rossini e la musica, ossia Amena biografia musicale: almanacco per l'anno 1827 (anno Io) (Milan, 1827)
  • A. Zanolini: Biografia di Gioachino Rossini (Paris, 1836; Bologna, 1875)
  • V. Damme: Vie de G. Rossini … par un dilettante (Antwerp, 1839)
  • M. and L. Escudier: Rossini: sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris, 1854)
  • E. de Mirecourt: Rossini (Paris, 1855, 3/1870)
  • E. Montazio: Giovacchino Rossini (Turin, 1862)
  • A. Aulagnier: G. Rossini: sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris, 1864)
  • A. Azevedo: G. Rossini: sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris, 1864)
  • H.S. Edwards: The Life of Rossini (London, 1869, 2/1881 as Rossini and his School)
  • A. Pougin: Rossini: notes, impressions, souvenirs, commentaires (Paris, 1871)
  • L.S. Silvestri: Della vita e delle opere di Gioachino Rossini: notizie biografico-artistico-aneddotico-critiche (Milan, 1874)
  • L. Dauriac: Rossini: biographie critique (Paris, 1906)
  • H. de Curzon: Rossini (Paris, 1920)
  • E. Cecchi: Rossini (Florence, 1922)
  • G. Radiciotti: Gioacchino Rossini: vita documentata, opere ed influenza su l'arte (Tivoli, 1927–9)
  • F. Toye: Rossini: a Study in Tragi-Comedy (London, 1934, 2/1954)
  • R. Bacchelli: Rossini (Turin, 1941, 2/1959 as Rossini e esperienze rossiniane)
  • A. Fraccaroli: Rossini (Verona, 1941)
  • G. Roncaglia: Rossini l'olimpico (Milan, 1946, 2/1953)
  • K. Pfister: Das Leben Rossinis: Gesetz und Triumph der Opern (Detmold, 1948)
  • L. Rognoni: Rossini (Parma, 1956, 3/1977)
  • H. Weinstock: Rossini: a Biography (New York, 1968)
  • N. Till: Rossini: his Life and Times (London, 1983)
  • R. Osborne: Rossini (London, 1986, 2/1987)
  • M. Nicolao: La maschera di Rossini (Milan, 1990)
  • A. Bassi: Gioacchino Rossini (Padua, 1992)
  • G. Carli Ballola: Rossini (Florence, 1992)
  • A. Kendall: Gioacchino Rossini: the Reluctant Hero (London, 1992)
    D: General historical literature
  • Castil-Blaze: L'Opéra-Italien de 1548 à 1856 (Paris, 1856)
  • E. Naumann: ‘Rossini und die Gegenwart’, Italienische Tondichter (Berlin, 1876), 513–45
  • V. Camaiti: Gioachino Rossini: notizie biografiche, artistiche e aneddotiche (Florence, 1887)
  • Bollettino del primo centenario rossiniano (Pesaro, 1892)
  • G.B. Shaw: ‘Rossini Centenary’, Illustrated London News (5 and 9 March 1892)
  • L. Dauriac: La psychologie dans l'opéra français (Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer) (Paris, 1897)
  • Jarro [G. Piccini]: Giovacchino Rossini e la sua famiglia (Florence, 1902)
  • A. Sandberger: ‘Rossiniana’, ZIMG, 9 (1907–8), 336–45; repr. in Ausgewählte Aufsätze(Munich, 1921), 300–12
  • E. Istel: ‘Rossiniana’, Die Musik, 10/4 (1910–11), 3–26
  • A. Soubies: Le Théâtre-Italien de 1801 à 1913 (Paris, 1913)
  • E. Celani: ‘Musica e musicisti in Roma (1750–1850)’, RMI, 22 (1915), 257–300
  • G. Fara: Genio e ingegno musicale: Gioachino Rossini (Turin, 1915)
  • A. Cametti: ‘La musica teatrale a Roma cento anni fa’, R. Accademia di Santa Cecilia: annuario (Rome, 1915–30)
  • F. Vatielli: Rossini a Bologna (Bologna, 1918)
  • A. Casella: ‘Some Reasons why a “Futurist” may Admire Rossini’, The Chesterian, no.11 (1920), 321–4
  • V. Cavazzocca Mazzanti: ‘Rossini a Verona durante il Congresso del 1822’, Atti e memorie dell'Accademia di agricoltura, scienze e lettere di Verona, 4th ser., 24 (1922), 53–112
  • G. Radiciotti: Aneddoti rossiniani autentici (Rome, 1929)
  • J.-G. Prod'homme: ‘Rossini and his Works in France’, MQ, 17 (1931), 110–37
  • G.H. Johnstone: Rossini and some Forgotten Nightingales (London, 1934)
  • Rossiniana (Bologna, 1942)
  • U. Rolandi: ‘Librettistica rossiniana’, Musica [Florence], 1 (1942), 40–66
  • L. Ronga: ‘Vicende del gusto rossiniano nell'Ottocento’, Musica [Florence], 1 (1942), 6–22
  • L. Ronga: ‘Svolgimento del gusto rossiniano al Novecento’, Musica [Florence], 2 (1943), 184–206
  • F. Barberio: ‘La regina d'Etruria e Rossini’, RMI, 55 (1953), 64–74
  • B. Riboli: ‘Profilo medico-psicologico di Gioacchino Rossini’, RaM, 24 (1954), 292–303
  • B. Riboli: ‘Malattia di Gioacchino Rossini secondo una relazione medica del 1842’, Note e riviste di psichiatria, nos.7 and 12 (1955); repr. as pamphlet (Pesaro, 1956)
  • F. Schlitzer: Rossini e Siena (Siena, 1958)
  • E.N. McKay: ‘Rossinis Einfluss auf Schubert’, ÖMz, 18 (1963), 17–22
  • D.W. Schwartz: ‘Rossini: a Psychoanalytic Approach to the Great Renunciation’, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 13 (1965), 551–69
  • G. Barblan: ‘Rossini e il suo tempo’, Chigiana, new ser., 5 (1968), 143–79
  • F. Bisogni: ‘Rossini e Schubert’, NRMI, 2 (1968), 920–35
  • A. Bonaccorsi, ed.: Gioacchino Rossini (Florence, 1968)
  • M. Fabbri: ‘Ignoti momenti rossiniani’, Chigiana, new ser., 5 (1968), 265–85
  • P. Graves: ‘Homage to Rossini’, Opera, 19 (1968), 858–64
  • F. Lippmann: ‘Rossinis Gedanken über die Musik’, Mf, 22 (1969), 285–98
  • J. Loschelder: ‘L'infanzia di Gioacchino Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1972), no.1, pp.45–63; no.2, pp.33–53
  • R. Risaliti: ‘Rossini e Liszt’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1972), no.3, pp.40–46
  • J. Loschelder: ‘Rossinis Bild und Zerbild in der Allgemeinen musikalischen Zeitung Leipzig’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1973), no.1, pp.23–42; no.2, pp.23–42; (1977), no.3, pp.17–40
  • J. Loschelder: ‘Spontini und Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1975), nos.1–2, pp.65–81
  • S. Alberici: ‘Rossini e Pio IX: alla luce di documenti inediti dell'Archivio Segreto Vaticano’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1977), nos.1–2, pp.5–35
  • S. Alberici: ‘Appunti sulle librettistica rossiniana’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1978), 45–60
  • F. Lippmann: ‘Rossini – und kein Ende’, Studi musicali, 10 (1981), 279–91
  • M. De Angelis: Le carte dell'impresario: melodramma e costume teatrale nell'Ottocento (Florence, 1982)
  • R. Celletti: Storia del belcanto (Florence, 1983; Eng. trans., 1991)
  • P. Fabbri: ‘I Rossini, una famiglia in arte’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1983), 125–51
  • S. Henze-Döhring: ‘La “natura” nelle opere di Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1983), 113–23
  • P. Fabbri: ‘Luoghi rossiniani: Villa Triossi al Conventello’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1984), 43–51
  • J. Rosselli: The Opera Industry in Italy from Cimarosa to Verdi: the Role of the Impresario (Cambridge, 1984)
  • V. Gui: ‘Scritti rossiniani’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1985), 15–60
  • P. Robinson: ‘Enlightenment and Reaction: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville ’, Opera and Ideas: from Mozart to Strauss (New York, 1985), 8–57
  • E. Neill: ‘Paganini e Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1986), 15–32
  • P. Fabbri: ‘ Minima rossiniana: ancora sulle carriere dei Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1987), 5–23
  • Gioachino Rossini: il testo e la scena: Pesaro 1992
  • Rossini a Roma, Rossini e Roma: Rome 1992
  • Momenti di storia musicale fra Italia e Polonia: Bologna 1992 (Bologna, 1993)
  • P. Fabbri: ‘Rossini a Ravenna: appunti di un “passaggio” non casuale’, Intorno a Rossini, ed. E. Moroni Bonazzi (Ravenna, 1992), 49–63
  • L. Ferrari, ed.: Viaggio a Rossini (Bologna, 1992)
  • M. Mazzi: ‘Il primo centenario della nascita di Gioachino Rossini a Pesaro’, Conservatorio ‘Gioachino Rossini’ Pesaro: annuario (Pesaro, 1992), 91–126
  • R. Müller: ‘Rossini e Hiller attraverso i documenti e gli scritti’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1992), 33–62
  • C. Steffan, ed.: Rossiniana: antologia della critica nella prima metà dell'Ottocento (Pordenone, 1992) [with a preface by B. Cagli]
  • Rafaello, Rossini e il bello stile (Urbino, 1993)
  • J.-M. Bruson and M. Kahan: Rossini et Paris (Paris, 1993)
  • N. Gallino: ‘Lo “scuolaro” Rossini e la musica strumentale al liceo di Bologna: nuovi documenti’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1993), 5–55
  • J.-M. Bruson: ‘Olympe, Pacini, Michotte ed altri: la vendita dei Péchés de vieillesse e le sue vicende’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1994), 5–68
  • P. Fabbri: ‘Il conte Aventi, Rossini e Ferrara’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1994), 91–157
  • J.H. Johnson: Listening in Paris: a Cultural History (Berkeley, 1995)
  • P. Fabbri, ed.: Di sì felice innesto: Rossini, la danza, e il ballo teatrale in Italia (Pesaro, 1996)
  • M. Grempler: Rossini e la patria: Studien zu Leben und Werk Gioachino Rossinis vor dem Hintergrund des Risorgimento (Kassel, 1996)
  • H. Lindenberger: ‘Rossini, Shelley, and Italy in 1819’, Opera in History: from Monteverdi to Cage (Stanford, CA, 1998), 81–106
    E: General musical studies
  • H. Faller: Die Gesangskoloratur in Rossinis Opern und ihre Ausführung (Berlin, 1935)
  • A. Capri: ‘Rossini e l'estetica teatrale della vocalità’, RMI, 46 (1942), 353–73
  • A. Della Corte: ‘Fra gorgheggi e melodie di Rossini’, Musica [Florence], 1 (1942), 23–39
  • A. Toni and T. Serafin: Stile, tradizioni e convenzioni del melodrama italiano del Settecento e dell'Ottocento (Milan, 1958)
  • R. Celletti: ‘Vocalità rossiniana’, L'opera [Milan], 2/5 (1966), 3–12
  • R. Celletti: ‘Origini e sviluppi della coloratura rossiniana’, NRMI, 2 (1968), 872–919
  • R. Celletti: ‘Il vocalismo italiano da Rossini a Donizetti, parte I: Rossini’, AnMc, no.5 (1968), 267–93
  • P. Gossett: ‘Rossini and Authenticity’, MT, 109 (1968), 1006–10
  • F. Lippmann: ‘Per un'esegesi dello stile rossiniano’, NRMI, 2 (1968), 813–56
  • P. Gossett: ‘Gioachino Rossini and the Conventions of Composition’, AcM, 42 (1970), 48–58
  • A. Caswell: ‘Vocal Embellishment in Rossini's Paris Operas: French Style or Italian?’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1975), nos.1–2, pp.5–21
  • A. Caswell: ‘Mme. Cinti-Damoreau and the Embellishment of Italian Opera in Paris: 1820–1845’, JAMS, 28 (1975), 459–92
  • E. Crafts: ‘A Tale of Two Cats’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1975), no.3, pp.5–12
  • E.J. Dent: The Rise of Romantic Opera, ed. W. Dean (Cambridge, 1976)
  • Die stilistische Entwicklung der italienischen Musik zwischen 1770 und 1830: Rome 1978 [AnMc, no.21 (1982)]
  • M. Donà: ‘Un'aria di Rossini per un'opera di Nicolini nella Biblioteca Comunale di Civitanova Marche’, AnMc, no.19 (1979), 320–29
  • W. Dean: ‘Rossini's French Operas’, ‘Rossini's Italian Operas’, NOHM, 8 (1982), 104–12, 403–26
  • Oper als Text: Berlin 1983 [incl. articles on Mosè in Egittoand Guillaume Tell]
  • F. Lippmann: Versificazione italiana e ritmo musicale: i rapporti tra verso e musica nell'opera italiana dell'Ottocento (Naples, 1986)
  • S.L. Balthazar: ‘Rossini and the Development of the Mid-Century Lyric Form’, JAMS, 41 (1988), 102–25
  • P. Gossett: ‘Rossini's “Ritornelli”: a Composer and his Orchestral Soloists’, Musique – signes – images: liber amicorum François Lesure, ed. J.-M. Fauquet (Geneva, 1988), 133–41
  • G.J. Joerg: ‘Rossini a Londra e la cantata Il pianto delle muse in morte di Lord Byron ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1988), 47–76
  • J. Johnson: The Théâtre Italien and Opera in Theatrical Life in Restoration Paris (diss., U. of Chicago, 1988)
  • S.L. Balthazar: ‘The “Primo Ottocento” Duet and the Transformation of the Rossinian Code’, JM, 7 (1989), 471–97
  • S.L. Balthazar: ‘Ritorni's Ammaestramenti and the Conventions of Rossinian Melodramma’, JMR, 8 (1989), 281–311
  • G.J. Joerg: Rossinis Kantaten: Probleme ihrer Überlieferung (diss., U. of Cologne, 1989)
  • S.L. Balthazar: ‘Mayr, Rossini, and the Development of the Early concertato Finale’, JRMA, 116 (1991), 236–66
  • G.J. Joerg: ‘La cantata per il battesimo del figlio del banchiere Aguado con alcune osservazioni preliminari su questo genere in Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1991), 19–54
  • D. Kimbell: Italian Opera (London, 1991)
  • F. d'Amico: Il teatro di Rossini (Rome, 1992)
  • B. Cagli and others: Il teatro di Rossini: le nuove edizioni e la messinscena contemporanea (Milan, 1992)
  • A. Gerhard: Die Verstädterung der Oper: Paris und das Musiktheater des 19. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 1992; Eng. trans., 1998)
  • S. Huebner: ‘Lyric Form in ottocento Opera’, JRMA, 117 (1992), 123–47
  • F. Lippmann: ‘Il “Grande Finale” nell'opera buffa e nell'opera seria: Paisiello e Rossini’, RIM, 27 (1992), 225–55
  • La recezione di Rossini ieri e oggi: Rome 1993
  • F. Della Seta: Italia e Francia nell'Ottocento (Turin, 1993)
  • M. Beghelli: I trattati di canto italiani dell'Ottocento (diss., U. of Bologna, 1994)
  • M. Beghelli: ‘Il “do di petto”: dissacrazione di un mito’, Saggiatore musicale, 3 (1996), 105–49
  • D. Tortora: Drammaturgia del Rossini serio: le opere della maturità da ‘Tancredi’ a ‘Semiramide’ (Rome, 1996)
  • D. Colas: Les annotations de chanteurs dans les matériels d'exécution des opéras de Rossini à Paris (1820–1860): contribution à l'étude de la grammaire mélodique rossinienne (diss., U. of Tours, 1997)
  • M. Emanuele: L'ultima stagione italiana: le forme dell'opera seria di Rossini da Napoli a Venezia (Turin, 1997)
  • G. Pagannone: ‘Tra “cadenza felicità felicità felicità” e “melodie lunghe lunghe lunghe”: di una tecnica cadenzale nel melodramma del primo Ottocento’, Saggiatore musicale, 4 (1997), 53–86
  • G. Castellani: Il concertato nell'opera di Gioachino Rossini (diss., U. of Fribourg, 1998)
    F: Studies of individual works

There are important essays on many individual works by Rossini in Italian programme booklets, especially those associated with the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, 1979–; they are not separately listed here.

    (i) Overtures
  • P. Ingersley-Jensen: ‘An Unknown Rossini Overture: Report of a Discovery in Odense’, MR, 11 (1950), 19–22 [on the so-called Sinfonia di Odense]
  • P.R. Kirby: ‘Rossini's Overture to “William Tell”’, ML, 33 (1952), 132–40
  • P. Gossett: ‘Le sinfonie di Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1979), 5–123
  • P. Gossett: ‘The Overtures of Rossini’, 19CM, 3 (1979–80), 3–31
    (ii) Operas, 1810–14
  • G. Radiciotti: ‘Il Signor Bruschino e il Tancredi di G. Rossini: leggende e storia’, RMI, 27 (1920), 231–66
  • A. Melica: ‘Due operine di Rossini’, Musicisti della scuola emiliana, Chigiana, 13 (1956), 59–66 [on L'inganno feliceand L'occasione fa il ladro]
  • A. Damerini: ‘La prima ripresa moderna di un'opera giovanile di Rossini: L'equivoco stravagante (1811)’, Chigiana, new ser., 2 (1965), 229–36
  • P. Gossett: ‘The candeur virginale of Tancredi ’, MT, 112 (1971), 326–9
  • F. Cacaci: ‘ La cambiale di matrimonio da Federici a Rossi’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1975), nos.1–2, pp.22–64
  • P. Gallarati: ‘Dramma e ludus dall'Italiana al Barbiere ’, Il melodramma italiano dell'Ottocento: studi e ricerche per Massimo Mila, ed. G. Pestelli (Turin, 1977), 237–80
  • P. Gossett: The Tragic Finale of ‘Tancredi’ (Pesaro, 1977)
  • C. Questa: Il ratto dal serraglio: Euripide, Plauto, Mozart, Rossini (Bologna, 1979, 2/1997)
  • B. Cagli: ‘Il risveglio magnetico e il sonno della ragione: variazioni sulla calamita, l'oppio e il sonnambulismo’, Studi musicali, 14 (1985), 157–70 [on Il turco in Italia]
  • S. Castelvecchi: Aspetti della farsa veneziana di primo Ottocento (diss., U. of Rome, 1988)
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.157 (1994) [L'italiana in Algeri issue]
  • P. Fabbri, ed.: Tancredi, I libretti di Rossini, 1 (Pesaro, 1994)
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.169 (1996) [Il turco in Italia issue]
  • P. Fabbri and M.C. Bertieri, eds.: L'italiana in Algeri, I libretti di Rossini, 4 (Pesaro, 1997)
  • M. G. Miggiani, ed.: La scala di seta, L’occasione fa il ladro, Il signor Bruschino, ossia Il figlio per azzardo, I libretti di Rossini, V (Pesaro, 1998)
    (iii) Neapolitan operas, 1815–22
  • J.W. Klein: ‘Verdi's Otello and Rossini's’, ML, 45 (1964), 130–40
  • E. Forbes: ‘Sir Walter Scott and Opera’, Opera, 19 (1968), 872–8
  • P. Isotta: ‘Da Mosè a Moïse ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1971), 87–117
  • P. Petrobelli: ‘Balzac, Stendhal e il Mosè di Rossini’, Annuario 1965–70 del Conservatorio di musica G.B. Martini di Bologna (Bologna, 1971), 205–19
  • B. Cagli: ‘Le fonti letterarie dei libretti di Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1972), no.2, pp.10–32 [on Maometto II]; (1973), no.1, pp.8–22 [on Bianca e Falliero]
  • G. Carli Ballola: ‘Lettura dell'Ermione ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1972), no.3, pp.12–39
  • P. Isotta: ‘I diamanti della corona: grammatica del Rossini napoletano’, Mosè in Egitto (Turin, 1974)
  • L. Tozzi: ‘Sulle tracce di un “péché de jeunesse”: Ricciardo e Zoraide ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1974), nos.2–3, pp.9–36
  • L. Tozzi: ‘ Armida, ou la couleur fantastique’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1975), no.3, pp.27–56
  • J. Mitchell: The Walter Scott Operas: an Analysis of Operas based on the Works of Walter Scott (Birmingham, AL, 1977) [incl. chap. on La donna del lago]
  • F. Tammaro: ‘Ambivalenza dell'Otello rossiniano’, Il melodramma italiano dell'Ottocento: studi e ricerche per Massimo Mila, ed. G. Pestelli (Turin, 1977), 187–236
  • M. Conati: ‘Between Past and Future: the Dramatic World of Rossini in Mosè in Egitto and Moïse et Pharaon ’, 19CM, 4 (1980–81), 32–47
  • A. Lanfranchi: ‘Alcune note su Zelmira ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1981), 55–84
  • B. Cagli: ‘Al gran sole di Rossini’, Il teatro di San Carlo: 1737–1987, ed. B. Cagli and A. Ziino (Naples, 1987), 2, 133–68
  • M. Spada: ‘ Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra di G. Rossini: fonti letterarie e autoimprestito musicale’, NRMI, 24 (1990), 147–82
  • R. Marvin: ‘Il libretto di Berio per l'Otello di Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1991), 55–76
  • P. Gossett: ‘History and Works that Have No History: Reviving Rossini's Neapolitan Operas’, Disciplining Music: Musicology and its Canons, ed. K. Bergeron and P.V. Bohlman (Chicago, 1992), 95–115
  • S. Castelvecchi: ‘Walter Scott, Rossini e la couleur ossianique: il contesto culturale della Donna del lago ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1993), 57–71
  • M. Mauceri: ‘ La gazzetta di Gioachino Rossini: fonti del libretto e autoimprestito musicale’, Ottocento e oltre: scritti in onore di Raoul Meloncelli, ed. F. Izzo and J. Streicher (Rome, 1993), 115–49
  • M. Grondona: La perfetta illusion: ‘Ermione' e l'opera seria rossiniana (Lucca, 1996)
  • M. Grondona and G. Paduano, eds.: Quattro volti di Otello (Milan, 1996)
  • R. Raffaelli, ed.: Otello, I libretti di Rossini, 3 (Pesaro, 1996)
  • R. Raffaelli: ‘Tracce di allattamento filiale nella Zelmira di Tottola per Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1996), 45–66
  • M. Grondona: ‘Otello’: una tragedia napoletana (Lucca, 1997)
    (iv) Non-Neapolitan operas, 1815–23
  • G. Romagnoli: ‘Gioacchino Rossini, Giulio Perticari e La gazza ladra ’, Vita italiana, 3 (1897), 106–9
  • G. Radiciotti G. Rossini: ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ (Milan, 1923)
  • G.M. Gatti: Le ‘Barbier de Séville’ de Rossini (Paris, 1925)
  • A. Melica: ‘ La gazza ladra nella revisione di Zandonai’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1955–6), no.3, pp.43–51
  • G. Confalonieri: ‘Avventure di una partitura rossiniana: l'Adina ovvero Il califfo di Bagdad ’, Le celebrazioni del 1963 e alcune nuove indagine sulla musica italiana del XVIII e XIX secolo, Chigiana, 20 (1963), 206–16
  • A. Zedda: ‘Appunti per una lettura filologica del “Barbiere”’, L'opera [Milan], 2/5 (1966), 13–16
  • P. Gossett: Introduction to La Cenerentola: riproduzione dell'autografo esistente presso l'Accademia filarmonica di Bologna, BMB, 92 (1969)
  • M. Tartak: ‘The Two “Barbieri”’, ML, 50 (1969), 453–69
  • A. Zedda: ‘In margine all'edizione critica del Barbiere di Siviglia ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1970), 3–10
  • G. Carli Ballola: ‘Una pièce à sauvetage da salvare’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1971), 11–27 [on Torvaldo e Dorliska]
  • A. Zedda: ‘Problemi testuali della Cenerentola ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1971), 29–51
  • P. Gossett: ‘ La gazza ladra: Notes towards a Critical Edition’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1972), no.1, pp.12–29
  • R. Celletti: ‘La vocalità rossiniana e La gazza ladra ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1973), 5–21
  • M. Tartak: ‘Matilde and her Cousins’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1973), no.3, pp.13–23
  • C. Casini: ‘Iterazione circolarità e metacronia nel Barbiere di Siviglia ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1974), nos.2–3, pp.37–100
  • N. John, ed.: La Cenerentola (London, 1980) [ENO opera guide]
  • M. Mauceri: ‘F.F.: Padre ignoto dell'Agatina di Pavesi’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1980), 65–76
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.37 (1981) [Il barbiere di Siviglia issue]
  • N. John, ed.: Il barbiere di Siviglia – Moïse et Pharaon (London, 1985) [ENO opera guide]
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.85 (1986) [La Cenerentola issue]
  • M. Marino: ‘Rossini e Pavesi: a proposito di un'aria dell'Eduardo e Cristina ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1986), 5–14
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.110 (1988) [La gazza ladra issue]
  • M. Mauceri: ‘Rossini a Roma nel 1821: nuovi documenti su un'opera mai scritta’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1988), 27–46
  • C. Questa: Semiramide redenta (Urbino, 1989)
  • M. Everist: ‘Lindoro in Lyon: Rossini's Le barbier de Séville ’, AcM, 64 (1992), 50–85
  • P. Gossett: ‘Musicologi e musicisti: intorno a una rappresentazione di Semiramide ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1992), 17–31
  • N. Carnevale: ‘“… That's the Barber!”: Henry Rowley Bishop e l'adattamento del Barbiere rossiniano’, Ottocento e oltre: scritti in onore di Raoul Meloncelli, ed. F. Izzo and J. Streicher (Rome, 1993), 99–113
  • P. Gossett: Introduction to Il barbiere di Siviglia: facsimile dell'autografo (Rome, 1993)
  • J. Graziano, ed.: Italian Opera in English: ‘Cinderella’ (1831), adapted by M. Rophino Lacy from Gioacchino Rossini's ‘La Cenerentola’ (New York, 1994)
  • E. Sala, ed.: La gazza ladra, I libretti di Rossini, 2 (Pesaro, 1995)
  • A. Bini: ‘“Altro è l'Arcadia, altro è poi Valle”: Jacopo, un divertissement letterario di Jacopo Ferretti a proposito di Cenerentola ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1996), 5–43
  • R. Müller and B.-R. Kern, eds.: Rossinis ‘Eduardo e Cristina’: Beiträge zur Jahrhundert-Erstaufführung (Leipzig, 1997)
  • S. Rogers: ‘ Cenerentola a Londra’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1997), 51–67
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.184 (1998) [Semiramide issue]
    (v) Operas, 1824–9
  • H. Berlioz: ‘ Guillaume Tell ’, Gazette musicale, 1/Oct–Nov (1834), 326–7, 336–9, 341–3, 349–51; Eng. trans. in StrunkSR1
  • E. vander Straeten: La mélodie populaire dans l'opéra ‘Guillaume Tell’ de Rossini (Paris, 1879)
  • A. Cametti: ‘Il Guglielmo Tell e le sue prime rappresentazioni in Italia’, RMI, 6 (1899), 580–92
  • A. Porter: ‘A Lost Opera by Rossini’, ML, 45 (1964), 39–44 [on Ugo, re d'Italia]
  • M. Viale Ferrero: ‘ Guglielmo Tell a Torino (1839–40), ovvero una Procella scenografica’, RIM, 14 (1979), 378–94
  • J. Johnson: ‘A Lost Rossini Opera Recovered: Il viaggio a Reims ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1983), 5–57
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.81 (1985) [Le siège de Corinthe issue]
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.118 (1989) [Guillaume Tell issue]
  • H. Lacombe: ‘Contributo allo studio delle fonti del Moïse di Rossini’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1989), 47–62
  • L'avant-scène opéra, no.140 (1991) [Il viaggio a Reimsand Le comte Ory issue]
  • H.R. Cohen, ed.: The Original Staging Manuals for Twelve Parisian Operatic Premières (Stuyvesant, NY, 1991) [incl. Guillaume Tell]
  • B.-R. Kern: ‘Verfassungsgeschichtliche Aspekte der Oper Il viaggio a Reims von Rossini’, Dichter, Denker und der Staat: Essays zu einer Beziehung ganz eigener Art, ed. Michael Kilian (Tübingen, 1993), 233–59
  • A. Baggioli: ‘Le fonti letterarie di Guillaume Tell ’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1997), 5–50
    (vi) Non-operatic works
  • J.L. d'Ortigue: Le ‘Stabat’ de Rossini (Paris, 1841)
  • A. Aulagnier: Quelques observations sur la publication du ‘Stabat mater’ de Rossini (Paris, 1842)
  • J.A. Delaire: Observations d'un amateur non dilettante au sujet du ‘Stabat’ de M. Rossini (Paris, 1842)
  • A.W. Ambros: ‘Die Messe solennelle von Rossini’, Bunte Blätter, 1 (Leipzig, 1872), 81–92
  • G.C. Hirt [L. Torchi]: ‘Di alcuni autografi di G. Rossini’, RMI, 2 (1895), 23–35 [on Péchés de vieillesse]
  • H. Prunières: ‘L'Edipo a Colono de Rossini’, RdM, 14 (1933), 32–8
  • P. Gossett: ‘Rossini in Naples: Some Major Works Recovered’, MQ, 54 (1968), 316–40 [on Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo, Messa di gloria etc.]
  • S. Martinotti: ‘I “peccati” del giovane e del vecchio Rossini’, Quadrivium, 14 (1973), 249–71
  • S. Alberici: I ‘Mi lagnerò tacendo’ di Gioacchino Rossini: strutture e varianti (diss., U. of Bologna, 1980)
  • P. Gossett: ‘Rossini e i suoi “Péchés de vieillesse”’, NRMI, 14 (1980), 7–26
  • N. Gallino: Di sei sonate orrende: alcuni aspetti stilistici e strutturali delle ‘Sonate a quattro’ di Gioachino Rossini (Turin, 1990)
  • M. Bolzani: ‘Un intervento di Rossini nella cantata Giovanni d'Arco di Lucio Campiani (1845)’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1994), 69–89
  • J. Rosenberg: ‘Rossini, Raimondi e la Messa di gloria del 1820’, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniani di Studi (1995), 85–102
Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
Analecta musicologica
Moscow, Gosudarstvennïy Tsentral′nïy Muzey Musïkal′noy Kul′turï imeni M.I. Glinki
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung
Naples, Conservatorio di Musica S Pietro a Majella, Biblioteca
Vienna, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde
Modena, Biblioteca Estense e Universitaria
Pesaro, Fondazione G. Rossini, Biblioteca
Zeitschrift der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft
Rivista musicale italiana
Journal of Musicology
Paris, Conservatoire [in F-Pn]
Mantua, Biblioteca Comunale
New York, Public Library at Lincoln Center, Music Division
Musical Quarterly
Treviso, Biblioteca Comunale
Paris, Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra
Acta musicologica
Milan, Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Verdi, Biblioteca
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
London, British Library
Journal of the Royal Musical Association
Forlì, Biblioteca Comunale Aurelio Saffi
The New Oxford History of Music (Oxford, 1954-90)
Chicago, University, Joseph Regenstein Library, Music Collection
Bibliotheca musica bononiensis (Bologna, 1967-)
Venice, Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello, Biblioteca
Siena, Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati
Rassegna musicale
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale
Monthly Musical Record
Gazzetta musicale di Milano
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Music Review
Brussels, Michotte private collection [in Bc]
Bologna, Accademia Filarmonica, Archivio
Nuova rivista musicale italiana
Rome, Archivio di Stato, Biblioteca
Österreichische Musikzeitschrift
Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung
19th Century Music
O. Strunk: Source Readings in Music History (New York, 1950/R)
Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea
Florence, Conservatorio Statale di Musica Luigi Cherubini
Milan, Biblioteca Teatrale Livia Simoni
Revue de musicologie
Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, sezione Musicale
Rivista italiana di musicologia
Palo Alto (CA), University, Memorial Library of Music, Department of Special Collections of the Cecil H. Green Library
Stockholm, Stiftelsen Musikkulturens Främjande
Die Musikforschung
Musical Times
Venice, Teatro La Fenice, Archivio Storico-Musicale
Music & Letters
Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Music Division
Milan, Biblioteca della Casa Ricordi
Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, sezione Musica
Journal of Musicological Research