Adina (opera)

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Adina is an operatic farsa in one act by Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Marchese Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini. The opera develops the popular theme of the "abduction from the seraglio".[1] [2] The première took place on 22 June 1826 at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon.

Composition history

Adina was commissioned in 1818 by Diego Ignazio de Pina Manique, police superintendent of Lisbon and inspector of Portuguese theatres.[3] The plot is very similar to that of Francesco Basili's 1819 opera, Il califfo e la schiava, for which the libretto was written by Felice Romani, and some passages occur in both librettos - a mystery which has not yet been unravelled.[3]

The opera was intended as a gift for a now unknown soprano who had apparently enthralled the superintendent with her performances at São Carlos. The contract Rossini made was for a quick completion of the work, and the opera was finished in 1818, but, as a result of this time constraint, not all of the music in the opera is entirely original. According to the 2001 critical edition of the score by Fabrizio della Seta, "Rossini composed anew only four of the work's nine numbers: the Introduction, the disarming Cavatina for Adina "Fragolette fortunate" (Lucky little strawberries), the Quartet, and the Finale; for three others he turned to the opera Sigismondo written in 1814; the remaining two were written by a collaborator."[1]

Rossini did not write an overture for the opera because no overture was specified in the contract, and he took little interest in the project.[3] There is no apparent explanation for the eight-year gap between completion and first performance.

Performance history

After the opera's initial première it was not revived again until 1963, when it was performed at the Accademia Chigiana of Siena.[2]

The music of Adina has been described as "somewhat more serious genre than might be expected for a one-act opera, especially one designated a farsa (perhaps better considered a semi-serious opera in the 'rescue' vein)" with the opera itself managing "to escape pure conventionality of archetypes and stereotypes and achieve a stylistic unity."[2] Richard Osborne in his "Master Musicians: Rossini" describes Adina as not only "...a pen-and-ink sketch rather than a full scale drawing...",[4] but also "...a winning reminder that he had not lost his old skill as a composer of farse."[5]


Role[2] Voice type Premiere Cast, 22 June 1826
(Conductor: )[6]
Adina, a slave-girl soprano Luisa Valesi
Selimo, her former lover tenor Luigi Ravaglia
The Caliph, the unknown father of Adina bass Giovanni Orazio Cartagenova
Ali, a young Arab tenor Gaspare Martinelli
Mustafa, gardener of the seraglio bass Filippo Spada
Male chorus



  1. ^ a b (Della Seta 2001, p. Preface)
  2. ^ a b c d "Adina". University of Chicago Center for Italian Opera Studies. Archived from the original on 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  3. ^ a b c (Holden 2001, pp. 783–784)
  4. ^ (Osborne, R. 1993, p. 215)
  5. ^ (Osborne, R. 1993, p. 44)
  6. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Adina, 22 June 1826". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).


  • Osborne, Richard (1993). Rossini. Dent. ISBN 0-460-86103-4.
  • Osborne, Charles (1994). The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini. Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-71-3.
  • Della Seta, Fabrizio, ed. (2001). Adina: Farsa in One Act by Gherardo Bevilacqua Aldobrandini" (The Critical Edition of the Works of Gioachino Rossini, Section I: Operas). University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-72861-7.
  • Holden, Amanda, ed. (2001). The New Penguin Opera Guide. Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4.
  • Gallo, Denise (2002). Gioachino Rossini: A Guide to Research. Routledge. ISBN 0-8153-3474-5.

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