Mosè in Egitto
Mosè in Egitto (pronounced [moˈzɛ in eˈdʒitto]; English: Moses in Egypt) is a three-act opera written by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola, which was based on a 1760 play by Francesco Ringhieri, L'Osiride. It premièred on 5 March 1818 at the recently reconstructed Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy.
Rossini greatly enlarged the work in 1827 as Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge (pronounced: [mɔiːz e faʁaɔ̃ u lə pasaːʒ də la mɛːʁ ʁuːʒ]; English: Moses and Pharaoh, or The Crossing of the Red Sea). The French libretto by Luigi Balocchi and Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy has four acts. The première was given by the Paris Opera at the Salle Le Peletier on 26 March the same year.
More than "versions"
Rossini composed so much additional music, including a substantial ballet, as to warrant Moïse et Pharaon being viewed as a separate and new opera alongside its Naples progenitor. Riccardo Muti and many scholars consider Moïse et Pharaon, along with Guillaume Tell, to be among Rossini's greatest achievements:
- "I prefer it because Rossini himself preferred it," Muti told journalists at a news conference in Salzburg in 2010. "Don't get me wrong. Mosè in Egitto is a wonderful opera, but it remains very much a mere sketch for Moïse et Pharaon. And it's not just me who says that, but the great Rossini himself."
The opera was loosely based on the Exodus from Egypt of the Israelites, led by Moses, rendered agreeable to the opera stage by introducing a love theme, in which the Pharaoh's son Amenophis (tenor) plans to prevent their departure, since he loves the Israelite Anaïs (soprano).
The 1818 opera opens with a darkened stage, as the plague of darkness is dispelled by Moses' prayer, and it ends with the spectacle of the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh's host, which "elicited howls of derision" at the clumsy machinery of its staging at the premiere, though the opera surmounted its technical failings and was a hit. Billed in 1818 as an azione tragico-sacra, the sacred drama with some features of the oratorio circumvented proscriptions of secular dramatic performances during Lent.
Rossini slightly revised the opera in 1819, when he introduced Moses' prayer-aria '"Dal tuo stellato soglio", which became one of the most popular opera pieces of the day, inspired a set of variations for violin and piano by Niccolò Paganini, and survives in concert performance.
Paris audiences had already seen this work — both in a performance by the Paris Opéra at the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique and at the Théâtre des Italiens — before Rossini revised it again, this time markedly, for the Paris Opéra. Now in four French acts, with a ballet, it premiered on 26 March 1827 under the title Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le Passage de la Mer Rouge. The first libretto from Naples was translated and augmented by Luigi Balocchi and Victor Joseph Etienne de Jouy, who would later co-write the libretto for Rossini's final opera Guillaume Tell.
20th century and beyond
Naples version/Paris version
|Voice type||Naples premiere cast,
5 March 1818
(Conductor: Nicola Festa)
|Paris revised version premiere,
26 March 1827
(Conductor: - )
|Mosè / Moïse (Moses)||bass||Michele Benedetti||Nicholas-Prosper Levasseur|
|Faraone / Pharaon (Pharaoh)||bass||Raniero Remorini||Henri-Bernard Dabadie|
|Amaltea / Sinaide, his wife||soprano||Frederike Funck||Louise-Zulme Dabadie|
|Osiride / Aménophis, their son||tenor||Andrea Nozzari||Adolphe Nourrit|
|Elcia / Anaï, a Hebrew girl||soprano||Isabella Colbran||Laure Cinti-Damoreau|
|Aronne / Elézer (Aaron)||tenor||Giuseppe Ciccimarra||Alexis Dupont|
|Amenofi / Marie (Miriam), Moses' sister||mezzo-soprano||Maria Manzi||Mori|
|Mambre / Aufide, a priest||tenor||Gaetano Chizzola||Ferdinand Prévôt|
|(no role) / Osiride, the High Priest||bass||Bonel|
|(no role) / A mysterious voice||bass||Bonel|
- Place: Egypt
- Time: Around 1230 B.C.
On the shores of the Red Sea
Opera House and Orchestra
Philharmonia Orchestra and the Ambrosian Opera Chorus
|Audio CD: Philips,
Cat: 420 109-2
Ezio Di Cesare,
Teatro San Carlo di Napoli Orchestra and Chorus
(Audio and video recordings of a performance (or of performances) in the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli)
|DVD: House of Opera
Cat: DVDBB 2113
- Gossett & Brauner, p. 783
- Balocchi, the conductor and director of the Théâtre des Italiens, had provided the libretto for Rossini's first Paris production, the coronation opera Il viaggio a Reims, 1825, and for Le siège de Corinthe, a French version of Maometto II.
- Rosenberg, Marion Lignana, "Even with rough edges, NY City Opera’s Mosè reaches sublime heights", The Classical Review, 15 April 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013
- Osborne, C. p. 81
- Recordings of ‘’Mosè in Egitto’’ on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
- Gossett, Philip; Brauner, Patricia (2001), "Mosè in Egitto" in Holden, Amanda (ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
- Osborne, Charles (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0931340713
- Osborne, Richard (1998), "Mosè in Egitto" in Stanley Sadie, (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. One. London: MacMillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
- Ringhieri, Francisco (1760), L'Osiride. Tragedia del p.d. Francesco Ringhieri monaco ulivetano e lettore di teologia. Padua: Conzatti, 1760. Eight volumes of the tragedies of Ringhieri, an Olivetan monk 1721-1787), were also published in Venice 1788-89.
- Osborne, Richard (1990), Rossini, Ithaca, New York: Northeastern University Press. ISBN 1-55553-088-5 ISBN 1-55553-088-5
- Toye, Francis (reissue 1987), Rossini: The Man and His Music, Dover Publications. ISBN 0486253961 ISBN 0-486-25396-1,