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Gioachino Rossini composed Zelmira in 1822 not only for Naples’s Teatro San Carlo, but also for a Viennese tour. He then took the work to London and Paris. Mindful of his international audience, Rossini experimented in Zelmira. Avoiding an overture, the opera plunges directly into the drama; intense chromaticism and emphasis on minor keys create a dark tone. The ensembles especially exhibit a refined, classical ideal of beauty.
This edition is the first publication of Zelmira in full score. It includes the Vienna aria “Ciel pietoso,” immediately considered integral to the opera, the Paris ending, and changes for Vienna and London. An additional volume provides authentic stage band music needed for three pieces.
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Helen Greenwald is Professor of Musicology at the New England Conservatory of Music. Kathleen Kuzmick Hansell is editor for music at the University of Chicago Press and managing editor of the Works of Giuseppe Verdi series.
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