Moïse et Pharaon opens the 42nd ROF

8 August 2021
_DSC8023 Roberto Tagliavini

The 42nd edition of the Rossini Opera Festival will be held in Pesaro from the 9th to the 22nd August 2021.  The Festival will be inaugurated on the 9th August at 7.00 p.m. at the Vitrifrigo Arena by Moïse et Pharaon, with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale of the RAI and the Chorus of the Teatro Ventidio Basso; the production, scenery and costumes are all by Pier Luigi Pizzi, assisted by Massimo Gasparon (lighting) and Gheorghe Iancu (choreography).  The cast consists of Roberto Tagliavini, Erwin Schrott, Andrew Owens, Eleonora Buratto, Vasilisa Berzhanskaya, Alexey Tatarintsev, Matteo Roma, Monica Bacelli and Nicolò Donini.  There will be three repeat performances, on the 12th, 16th and 19th August.

Moïse et Pharaon, an opera in four acts by Luigi Balochi and Étienne de Jouy, is a revision of Mosè in Egitto.  The opera was first performed on the 26th March 1827 at the Théâtre de l’Académie royale de Musique, Paris, with Nicolas-Prosper Levasseur (Moïse), Henri-Bernard Dabadie (Pharaon), Adolphe Nourrit (Aménophis), Alexis Dupont (Éliézer), Bonnel (Osiride), Ferdinand Prévost (Aufide), Louise-Zulme Dabadie (Sinaïde), Laure Cinti-Damoreau (Anaï), Mori (Marie).  Various and composite autograph manuscripts are located in Paris and in some libraries in the U.S.A.

In comparison with the original version (Mosè in Egitto – Naples, 1818-1819), Moïse et Pharaon was enlarged into four acts with a new text in French.  Some pieces were substantially revised, all the recitatives were re-composed and a considerable number of newly-written numbers were introduced (particularly the obligatory ballet music required for productions at the Opéra, the three Airs de Danse).

The opera exploited the fascination with Egypt aroused by Napoleon’s expedition and by the studies of the newly discovered objects and monuments, together with the audiences’ interest in the religious theme.  Based rather freely  on the Biblical story, and without observing chronological order, the opera was described as an oratorio and was performed near to Holy Week with triumphal success.  Places in the boxes were quickly sold out, and the opera, originally conceived as a seasonal work (best suited to Lent), remained in the repertory all through the summer and the autumn of 1827, and for most of 1828.