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date: 20 November 2019

Adina [Adina, o Il califfo di Bagdad (‘Adina, or the Caliph of Baghdad’)]locked

  • Richard Osborne

Extract

[Adina, o Il califfo di Bagdad (‘Adina, or the Caliph of Baghdad’)]

Farsa in one act by Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Marchese Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini; Lisbon, Teatro de S Carlos, 22 June 1826.

The opera was written in 1818, to a libretto adapted from Felice Romani ’s Il califfo e la schiava, as a private commission for a Portuguese patron. The Caliph of Baghdad (bass) plans to marry the beautiful young slave-girl Adina (soprano). She, for reasons which are not immediately evident, is not unsympathetic to the Caliph but the reappearance of her one-time lover Selimo (tenor) puts her in a dilemma. Aided by his servant Mustafà (buffo bass), a gardener in the royal palace, Selimo persuades Adina to elope with him; which is just as well for it turns out that Adina is the Caliph’s longlost daughter. The abduction goes awry, however, leading to a vivid little scene among the fishermen of the Tigris as the lovers are arrested. Selimo is sentenced to death and Adina faints, but a medallion round her neck happily reveals her true identity to the Caliph. This eminently stageable work is a pen-and-ink sketch rather than a full-scale drawing, notable for the tender, elaborate music provided for Adina (the only woman in the cast), for the crystal-clear orchestration, and for a mood which is prevailingly sad. There is no overture, nor is there any evidence that Rossini ever heard the piece in performance....

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