The Italian Girl in Algiers is Rossini's twelfth opera, which was premiered at the San Benedetto Theatre in Venice on 22nd May 1813, marking the composer's definitive breakthrough. 1813 is the year of birth of Wagner and Verdi, and Rossini was 21 years old at the time. During this period of his life, Rossini worked as if he was possessed; his work pace was almost legendary - six of his operas had already been staged the year before, and he added four more in 1813.
He composed very quickly, and they say that The Italian Girl in Algiers was created in less than a month. Due to the lack of time, however, Rossini recycled an operatic theme, set to music by the composer Marcolini, five years earlier and was, therefore, subject to baseless and unjustified accusations of plagiarism. In his piece, one can also recognise many similarities with Mozart’s opera The Abduction from Seraglio. The parallels with the latter are surprising, and the plot and theme of the two operas are almost the same. However, the diva Maria Marcolini as Isabella (Rossini wrote most of his coloratura mezzo-soprano roles for her) and Filippo Galli as Mustafà, appeared in the leading roles at the premiere of the opera in Algiers before the creation of Mozart’s opera in 1782. The opera, conceived after the libretto by Angel Anelli, was a great success and soon became a part of the repertoire of almost all major European opera theatres. Lat-er it remained unjustly forgotten for a long time.
The experienced Italian director Emanuele Gamba will set on stage the oriental colour of the bey's castle in Algiers, the coloratura escapades of the singing roles and the com-ical unfolding of the entangled story; the orchestra will be led by the renowned Italian conductor Marco Guidarini.