Friday, 22 June 2018

AN OFFICER, A LADY, AND A GENTLEMAN: THE TRIUMVIRATE BEHIND ROSSINI’S ADINA (ARIA OF THE WEEK)

Police Superintendent at Lisbon Diego Ignazio
de Pina Manique commissioned Adina from
Rossini in 1818.
Not all operas boasted royal commissioners – take, for instance, Gioachino Rossini’s 1826 Adina - the one-act farsa commissioned in 1818 by Portuguese Police Superintendent Diego Ignazio de Pina Manique of Lisbon.

The story behind the making of Adina is as romantic as any great opera: this relatively obscure gem, quoted by Rossini as a “theme [on] the abduction of the seraglio,” was the brainchild of the Officer, who fell besotted by an unknown soprano after hearing her perform at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos. So moved was the music lover (who worked part time as an Inspector of Portuguese theatres), he opted to approach Rossini for a special commission: stage an opera – and quickly at that – in the singer’s honor.[1]

Rossini took on the commission (albeit unenthusiastically), and set to work on writing the score. As a result of the contractual time restraints imposed on Gioachino by the Officer, much of the music was recycled from the composer’s previous work (from his 1814 operatic ‘dramma’ Sigismondo) or written with the assistance of a collaborator. One of the pieces original to the new work is the aria “Fragolette fortunate,” a charming Cavatina for soprano.

It is also Unraveling Musical Myths' Aria of the Week:



Footnotes:

[1]It is presently unknown why Rossini waited 8 years to première Adina at São Carlos (it’s first performance was held on this day in 1826). It is certainly curious given the police officer’s contractual stipulation for a speedy staging.

- Rose.

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