Donnerstag, 09.02.2023 06:46 Uhr

Guilty without guilt

Verantwortlicher Autor: Nadejda Komendantova Theater an der Wien, 27.11.2022, 21:55 Uhr
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Theater an der Wien [ENA] La Gazza Ladra is the opera from Rossini which originally was composed as a comic opera and turned to be a tragedy about a woman sentenced to death and a corrupt politician. The title of the opera is The Thieving Magpie and it is about a minor crime which resulted in a very hard punishment. Following the book of Dostoevsky about Guilt and Punishment the opera is about guilt and punishment in modern society.

The basis for the libretto proposed by Rossini was created by French playwrights Louis Charles Quesnier and Jean-Marie d'Aubigny "The Thieving Magpie, or the Servant of Palaiseau". This "tabloid melodrama" was based on real events in France. The genre of the opera The Thieving Magpie is defined as a semi-serious opera, in which comedic elements are combined with dramatic ones. Starting as an unpretentious comedy of rural life, in the second act the opera rises to genuine tragedy. And although everything ends happily - the “criminal” turns out to be a tame magpie, the innocence of the servant heroine becomes obvious, and even her father, a deserter soldier, is pardoned, this does not negate the acuteness of the social problems.

The images of the poor - Ninetta and her father Pippo - are characterised With special warmth. The lack of capacity to defend themselves of these characters is contrasted with the sharply characteristic images of negative heroes such as corrupt mayor of the city. As for the future events of the opera, the overture leaves no illusions: full of beautiful, elegant melodies, replacing each other, colored with virtuoso passages, it nevertheless begins with a drum roll, which will appear later in the second act, when Ninetta is led to execution.

"The Thieving Magpie" is known to many lovers of classical music primarily due to its overture, which is often performed as a separate concert number. Few people know what Gioacchino Rossini's opera The Thieving Magpie is about - it is so rarely performed. However, almost everyone heard her overture. According to legend, she appeared last, the day before the premiere - the impresario La Scala simply locked Rossini in the room, not letting him out until he threw sheets with notes of the famous melody with drums out the window.

"The Thieving Magpie" was in many ways a completely atypical work either for its time or for its author. Despite the location in the countryside, the opera is not filled with pastoral scenes unusual for Rossini, idyll, melancholy and sugary tenderness - a dramatic mood prevails in it. This opera was performed with great success in various European opera houses such as La Scala in Mailand.

"The Thieving Magpie" belongs to the genre of semi-serious opera (semi-serious opera). Its distinguishing features are a plot outline similar to a comic opera, but with the presence of elements of pathos and dramatization. It is distinguished from pure melodrama by the presence of a character performed by a bass buff. The heroes of the semi-series opera are ordinary people, often contemporaries of their authors, plot collisions are quite reliable, and the central character is most often an innocently suffering heroine. Its persecutors create lawlessness, and one of the benefactors is a person vested with supreme power. In opera characters from different social strata collide. And an essential condition of the genre is the happy end.

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