L'italiana in Algeri | MAMT

L'italiana in Algeri

The famous French writer Stendhal claimed “The Italian girl in Algiers” to be the highest achievement of the buffa genre. The opera was written by Rossini in 1813. The premiere at the Venetian ”San Benedetto” theatre took place on May 22, 1813. Having conquered European audience very quickly “The Italian girl” found its way to Russia in 1822 where the cast of Italian artists staged it in Moscow at the Znamenka Theatre. Then the stage history of this opera in Russia has been set on pause for almost two hundred years until Gioacchino Rossini’s score was mastered by the St. Petersburg theatre “Zazerkalye”. The performance of the part of Isabella by Zara Dolukhanova who performed it in the concert version of the opera in 1955 in the House of the Unions was a remarkable artistic event of its time. In 2010, “Italian girl in Algiers” was performed on the stage of the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory conducted by the famous maestro Alberto Dzedda who is famous for his Rossini performances. Today, the stage version of Rossini’s opera appears at the Moscow State Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre.

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Running Time
3 hours 10 minutes with one intermission
Premiere at the SND Music Theatre
May 28 2013
Performed in

Creative Team


Act 1

In the palace of the Bey of Algiers. Elvira, accompanied by her slave Zulma, regrets the loss of the love of her husband Bey Mustafa. Left alone with Haly, Captain of the Corsairs, Mustafa reveals his plan: he wants an Italian girl! Haly must find one! The seashore where a ship has been wrecked in a
storm. Its passengers include Isabella in search of her beloved Lindoro, and Taddeo, her travelling companion. Haly and his men take them prisoner.
Isabella is an Italian! Exactly what the Bey wanted! Mustafa has a plan to marry Elvira off to Lindoro. Haly enters with news of the arrival of the Italian beauty. Mustafa is elated. Mustafa receives Isabella in a grand hall. He is enchanted. At that moment, Lindoro, Elvira and Zulma arrive to say goodbye to Mustafa. Lindoro and Isabella are astonished to come face to face. Recovering herself, Isabella asks about Elvira, learning she is Mustafa’s ex-wife, to be remarried to Lindoro!

Act 2

Lindoro tells Mustafa that Isabella will declare him her adored ‘pappataci’. This, as Lindoro explains, is an Italian custom and a great honour, as the ‘pappataci’ enjoy an idyllic life dedicated to eating, drinking and sleeping. In her apartment, Isabella addresses the Italian slaves. She will lead them to freedom. The ceremony begins, Mustafa is delighted with his new honour and changes into appropriate costume. Isabella explains his obligations. He must swear an oath of eating, drinking, and keeping silent, repeating the words after Taddeo. A European ship lies alongside the palace: time to
escape! Elvira, Zulma and Haly find the Bey still acting as a mad ‘pappataci’. Suddenly recovering his sanity, Mustafa calls his troops but they are all
drunk. The Italians bid farewell and Mustafa begs Elvira’s forgiveness. No more Italian girls for him

Previous performances

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