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RossiniHis Life and Works$
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Richard Osborne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181296.001.0001

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Back from the Shadows:

Back from the Shadows:

Matilde di Shabran and Zelmira

Chapter:
(p.294) Chapter Thirty -Five Back from the Shadows:
Source:
Rossini
Author(s):

Richard Osborne

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181296.003.0035

In their differing ways, Matilde di Shabran and Zelmira show a composer taking stock. Both are rich in musical invention; both were rapturously received. However, down the years, tales about implausible plots and impossible-to-cast tenor roles led to obloquy and neglect, from which the two works have only recently emerged. What is new in Matilde di Shabran is the extent to which the comedy is driven by a spirit of parody. Parody had always been part of Gioachino Rossini’s comic method, but his earlier targets had generally been older methods and older composers. Now, as his own Italian career was drawing to a close, he appears to have been moved by an irresistible desire to take a less than serious look at the new operatic order he himself had largely created. Born to comedy, he had learned to revere opera seria.

Keywords:   Zelmira, musical invention, parody, Gioachino Rossini, comic method, comedy, opera seria

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