Adina, farsa in un atto to a libretto by Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini, was first performed at Teatro de San Carlos, Lisbona, on 22nd June 1826.
The singers in the first performances were Jõao Oracio Cartagenova (Califfo), Luiza Valesi (Adina), Luiz Ravaglia (Selimo), Gaspar Martinelli (Alì), Filippe Spada (Mustafà).
In Baghdad, in the Caliph’s seraglio.
In the seraglio gardens. It is the day that has been set aside to celebrate the wedding of the middle-aged Caliph to young Adina; everyone is rejoicing about the event. The young Arab Selimo, who is in love with Adina, has not heard anything about the wedding; he has learned that the girl is a prisoner in the Caliph’s seraglio, and is looking forward to being able to see her again soon. The two young people, who have been in love since their adolescent years, were actually on the point of getting married when they were tragically separated: brigands severely wounded Selimo and carried off Adina. In his attempts to contact Adina Selimo is helped by Mustafà, the gardener of the seraglio, who is both overjoyed by the gold of his bribe and terrified of being found out. The Caliph himself comes on, joyously welcomed by all, and makes a public announcement of his wedding, to the despair of Selimo, who believes that his own fiancée has betrayed him. The Caliph makes the last arrangements necessary for the wedding celebrations, and reveals to his trusted friend Alì the reason for his passion for Adina: the young slave girl, in fact, reminds him of another girl, Zora, with whom he fell desperately in love when he was a young man. His planned marriage with Zora was, however, frustrated by destiny, since the Caliph, occupied in fighting a battle near Medina, was taken prisoner by the enemy, and, once he was set free, could never trace his beloved again. When Adina was delivered as a slave to the Caliph it was just this extraordinary resemblance to Zora that aroused his passion again, even though he showed the deepest respect for the girl’s innocence. The affection and compassion shown by the Caliph gradually overcame the girl’s despair at finding herself in slavery, and her natural timidity, and he was rewarded by her agreeing to marry him. Adina herself now comes on, carrying a basket of strawberries that she has just been gathering, and she ponders on her real feelings; in fact, she can hardly help thinking about the companion of her youth, whom she believes to be dead. Acclaimed by everyone, and about to become a Sovereign, she has feelings of sincere affection and eternal gratitude for the Caliph, but she cannot love him. Now, however, Mustafà approaches his mistress and once he has succeeded in getting her on one side, he reveals that Selimo is still alive and that he has found his way into the seraglio. Reunited with her lover, Adina is both greatly disturbed and full of joy; his reproaches are unjust; Adina, who had thought him dead and who was herself a prisoner, is, in fact, ready to escape from the seraglio and run away with him. Selimo asks Mustafà to look after all the arrangements for their escape.