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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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Farewell to Italy:

Farewell to Italy:

Semiramide

Chapter:
(p.302) Chapter Thirty-Six Farewell to Italy:
Source:
Rossini
Author(s):

Richard Osborne

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181296.003.0036

Semiramide, Gioachino Rossini’s last opera for the Italian stage could well be dubbed Tancredi Revisited. There is evidence that Rossini thought the end—the death of Semiramide, Arsace’s grief at her hapless killing, his attempted suicide, and his acclamation as king—too swift. For the Paris revivals of 1825–1826 he extended Semiramide’s death throes. Stage decorum required that she die behind the tomb of Ninus, but there is no denying her tragic status. There is no authority for the happy ending (“Arsace stabs Assur’ rather than “Arsace stabs Semiramide instead of Assur”) proposed in the libretto of the distinguished gramophone recording of the opera in which Joan Sutherland sings the title role. Like Iago, Assur is destined to meet his end by other means.

Keywords:   Semiramide, Gioachino Rossini, opera, Tancredi Revisited, Arsace, Paris, libretto, Joan Sutherland, Assur

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