Guillaume Tell was Rossini's last contribution to the musical theatre. The opera in four acts, to a libretto by Étienne de Jouy and Hippolyte-Louis-Florent Bis, was first performed on August 3rd 1829 at the Théâtre de l'Academie Royale de Musique, where it received only a "succès d'estime" from the public, but was hailed by critics and musicians (including Bellini, who considered it his "musical bible"). Performers at the first performance: Adolphe Nourrit (Arnold), Henri-Bernarde Dabadie (Guillaume Tell), Nicholas-Prosper Levasseur (Walter), Bonnel (Melchtal), Alex Prévost (Gesler), Jean-Étienne Massol (Rodolphe), Ferdinand Prévost (Leuthold), Alexis Dupont (Pêcheur), Laura Cinti-Damoreau (Mathilde), Louise-Zulme Dabadie (Jemmy), Mori (Hedwige).
The autographs are kept in Paris, at the Conservatoire and the Opéra. The theme is taken from Friedrich Schiller's Wilhelm Tell (1804). Rossini also worked on a three-act version of this opera, probably in 1831.
The opera was first performed at the ROF in 1995 under the direction of Gianluigi Gelmetti, with sets and costumes by Pier Luigi Pizzi and choreography by Heinz Spoerli. Gelmetti conducts the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Krakow Radio Choir and the Prague Chamber Choir. The cast includes Guillaume Tell as Michele Pertusi, Arnold Melcthal as Gregory Kunde, Walter Furst as Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Melcthal as Frode Olsen, Jemmy as Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz and Gesler as Riccardo Ferrari, Rodolphe is Jeffrey Francis, Paul Austin Kelly plays Roudi and the Pêcheur, Leuthold is Eldar Aliev, Mathilde is Daniela Dessì, Hedwige is Monica Bacelli, Un Chasseur is Mauro Utzeri. The airs de danse will be performed by étoile Alessandra Ferri and Josè Manuel Carreño and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
In 2013, the ROF proposed a new production and entrusted it to Michele Mariotti and Graham Vick. Mariotti conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, while Vick works with Paul Brown (sets and costumes), Ron Howell (choreography) and Giuseppe Di Iorio (lighting design). The cast includes Guillaume Tell as Nicola Alaimo, Arnold Melchtal as Juan Diego Flórez, Walter Furst as Simon Orfila, Melchtal as Simone Alberghini, Jemmy as Amanda Forsythe, Gesler as Luca Tittoto, Rodolphe as Alessandro Luciano, Celso Albelo as Ruodi and Un Pêcheur, Wojtek Gierlach as Leuthold and Un Chasseur, Mathilde as Marina Rebeka and Hedwige as Veronica Simeoni.