ⓘ Mosè in Egitto


ⓘ Mose in Egitto

Mose in Egitto is a three-act opera written by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola, which was based on a 1760 play by Francesco Ringhieri, LOsiride. It premiered on 5 March 1818 at the recently reconstructed Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy.

In 1827 Rossini revised and greatly enlarged the work to a four-act French libretto: Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge pronounced ; Moses and Pharaoh, or The Crossing of the Red Sea ". This was written by Luigi Balocchi and Victor-Joseph Etienne de Jouy. The premiere took place in the Salle Le Peletier of the Paris Opera on 26 March that year.

Riccardo Muti and many scholars consider Moïse et Pharaon, along with Guillaume Tell, to be among Rossinis greatest achievements:

I prefer it because Rossini himself preferred it. Dont get me wrong. Mose in Egitto is a wonderful opera, but it remains very much a mere sketch for Moïse et Pharaon. And its not just me who says that, but the great Rossini himself.

1. Composition history

Mose in Egitto, 1818

The opera was loosely based on the Exodus from Egypt of the Israelites, led by Moses, rendered agreeable to the opera stage by introducing a love theme, in which the Pharaohs son Amenophis plans to prevent their departure, since he loves the Israelite Anaïs.

The 1818 opera opens as the plague of darkness is dispelled by Moses prayer, and it ends with the spectacle of the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaohs host, which "elicited howls of derision" at the clumsy machinery of its staging at the premiere, though the opera surmounted its technical failings and was a hit. Billed in 1818 as an azione tragico-sacra, the sacred drama with some features of the oratorio circumvented proscriptions of secular dramatic performances during Lent.

Rossini slightly revised the opera in 1819, when he introduced Moses prayer-aria "Dal tuo stellato soglio", which became one of the most popular opera pieces of the day and which inspired a set of variations for violin and piano by Niccolo Paganini. Both survive in concert performance.

Moïse et Pharaon, 1827

The greatly enlarged work set to a French libretto was composed with so much additional music, including a substantial ballet, as to warrant a new title, Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge Moses and Pharaoh, or The Crossing of the Red Sea pronounced, and was seen to be a separate and new opera alongside its Naples progenitor.


2. Performance history

French audiences had already seen Mose in Egitto – given its Parisian premiere by the Theatre-Italien at the Salle Le Peletier on 20 October 1822 – before Rossini revised it again, this time in French, for the Paris Opera.

The French version, in four acts with a ballet, premiered on 26 March 1827 under the title Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le Passage de la Mer Rouge. The first libretto from Naples was translated and augmented by Luigi Balocchi and Victor-Joseph Etienne de Jouy, who would later co-write the libretto for Rossinis final opera Guillaume Tell. As is noted on Expatia, "this second version proved such a runaway box-office success that it was performed no less than 100 times between its premiere in 1827 and 1838".

20th century and beyond

The Rossini Opera Festival, in Rossinis home town of Pesaro, has presented the opera periodically since 1980, beginning with a 1983 production by Pier Luigi Pizzi and revived in 1985. It did not re-appear until 2011 when it was seen in a production by Graham Vick. There had, however, been concert performances of various versions of the opera in New York by the Collegiate Chorale and the Sacred Opera Society.

Mose had "remained virtually unheard in Britain since a concert in 1822", until a production was staged by Welsh National Opera in the 1964/5 season in Cardiff, Llandudno and London. Londons Royal Opera House gave it in May/June 1994.

Welsh National Opera staged it again in autumn 2014 in Cardiff and on tour. Opinions were mixed.

In the US, Mose in Egitto had not been heard in Chicago since 1865, but it was presented in that city by Chicago Opera Theater in 2010 and given by New York City Opera in April 2013.

As Moise et Pharaon it was given at La Scala in 2003, and again as part of the 2009 Salzburg Festival under Muti.


3. Instrumentation

The score calls for: 2 Flutes/2 Piccolos, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 2 trumpets, 3 Trombones, Serpent, Timpani, Bass Drum, cymbals, Triangle, Banda Turca, Harp, Strings.

Onstage: Band


4.1. Synopsis Act 1

Darkness envelopes Egypt. It has been brought about by God in order to punish the Pharaoh and his people because he has failed to allow the Hebrews to leave the country for the Promised Land across the Red Sea. Moses is brought in and the Pharaoh declares that, when the sun shines again, he will release the captives. Cautioned by his brother Aaron not to believe the Egyptian leader, nevertheless Moses pleads to God and light returns.

However, because the Pharaohs son Osiride is in love with the Hebrew girl Elcia and does not want to see her leave with her people, he persuades the High Priest, Mambre, to help him. The Priest does not believe in Moses powers and he agrees to find a way to prevent the exodus by encouraging the Egyptians to revolt against allowing the Hebrews to depart. The Pharaoh then withdraws his promise and warns Moses that any Hebrew who tries to escape will be killed. Amaltea, Pharaohs wife, has secretly converted and she tries to intervene, but to no avail. Moses then threatens further punishment and is set upon by Osirides soldiers, intent upon killing him, but Pharaoh arrives in time to prevent it. Moses then prays for fire to rain down upon the country.


4.2. Synopsis Act 2

Pharaoh orders the Hebrews to leave at once, so as to avoid the curse placed on his people. Then, telling his son that he has negotiated a treaty whereby Osiride will be married to the Princess of Armenia, he does not understand why his son hears his announcement with little enthusiasm.

Shortly afterwards, Moses learns that Osiris has kidnapped Elcia, but Aaron knows where they are hiding. Amaltea is warned and accompanies him to find the lovers.

Together in the cave, Osiris tells Elcia of his fathers plans for him and he suggests that they can live together in hiding in the countryside. The Queen with her guards and Aaron interrupt the two lovers, but they refuse to separate and Osiris declares that he intends to give up the throne.

Meanwhile, the Pharaoh once again reverses himself and states that he will not allow the captives to leave, fearing that the Hebrews will support Egypts enemies. Outraged, Moses declares that the Crown Prince and all the firstborn males of the country will be hit by a divine lightning strike. Pharaoh orders Moses to be put in chains, and, to protect his son from the prophecy, declares Osiris to be his co-ruler and that he will be the one to proclaim the death sentence on Moses. Elcia then comes forward revealing her relationship with Osiris and begging him to free Moses and his people. She tries to persuade him to accept his destiny and marry the royal princess of Armenia. But Osiris remains adamant and immediately orders that Moses be killed. As he does so, he falls dead from being struck by a bolt of lightning.


4.3. Synopsis Act 3

On the shores of the Red Sea

Having crossed the desert, the Hebrews arrive on the shores of the Red Sea, but find themselves unable to continue their journey to the Promised Land. Leading his people and telling them to wait for Gods action, Moses prays. As the advancing Egyptians appear, the Hebrews are panicking, but Moses touches the waters with his staff and the Red Sea opens to provide a pathway to the opposite shore. Following closely behind, the Egyptians, led by Mambre and Pharaoh, enter the gap in the waters but they are swamped by the waves which close over them.

  • Mose Pray, a character in the film Papermoon Mose Allison, American jazz pianist and singer Mose Rager, guitar player from Kentucky Mose in Egitto
  • chapter was published in 1839 in the review la France musicale, under the title Une representation du Mose in Egitto by Rossini in Venice, with a preamble
  • of the Lake Rossini in Wildbad, 2006 Ermione ROF, 2008 and Elcia in Mose in Egitto ROF, 2011 In 2009 she participated in a live recording of Giuseppe
  • Algeri, La cenerentola, Mose in Egitto Semiramide, opposite Joan Sutherland, etc. On records, Petri can be heard in L italiana in Algeri, opposite Giulietta
  • accomplished virtuoso singer, she also enjoyed acclaim in Rossini operas such as La donna del lago, Mose in Egitto Semiramide. According to the music critic Henry
  • Bianca e Faliero, Armida, Maometto II, Aureliano in Palmira, Sigismondo, Torvaldo e Dorliska, Mose in Egitto and an amount of newly composed music including
  • works on themes from the Bible. Ciro in Babilonia is one of two Lenten operas by Rossini along with Mose in Egitto and is based on the Biblical story
  • Armida, the title role in Mose in Egitto Ircano in Ricciardo e Zoraide, Fenicio in Ermione, Douglas in La donna del lago, Leucippo in Zelmira. For Donizetti
  • Kenilworth 1829 and Imelda de Lambertazzi 1830 For Rossini he wrote Mose in Egitto 1818 Ermione 1819 La donna del lago 1819 and Zelmira 1822
  • Antonacci studied in Bologna and made her debut as Rosina in 1986 at Arezzo. In 1994, she made her Royal Opera debut as Elcia in Mose in Egitto She appeared