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ClassicsOnline Home » ROSSINI, G.: Italiana in Algeri (L') (Pizzolato, Regazzo, Virtuosi Brunensis, Zedda)
Using the critical edition by Azio Corghi, this recording of L’Italiana in Algeri was made at a jubilee performance of the XXth Rossini in Wildbad Festival in 2008. For his tenth opera, the already celebrated 21-year-old Rossini wanted ‘a humorous libretto full of spectacle’. This spirited opera, completed in barely a month, scored an immediate hit and its manic atmosphere of ‘organized, total lunacy’, as Stendhal put it, has ensured its enduring popularity.
By V. Vasan
By Gavin Dixon
Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868)
L’Italiana in Algeri
Dramma giocoso in two acts by Angelo Anelli
Critical edition by Fondazione Rossini, edited by Azio Corghi
Mustafà, Bey or Dey of Algiers – Lorenzo Regazzo, Bass
Elvira, his wife – Ruth Gonzalez, Soprano
Zulma, Elvira’s slave and confidante – Elsa Giannoulidou, Mezzo-soprano
Haly, captain of the Algerian Corsairs – Giulio Mastrototaro, Bass
Lindoro, a young Italian, favourite of Mustafà – Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor
Isabella, an Italian lady – Marianna Pizzolato, Contralto
Taddeo, her companion – Bruno De Simone, Bass
Gianni Fabbrini, Harpsichord continuo
Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir, Cluj (Chorus master: Cornel Groza)
Virtuosi Brunensis (Artistic Director: Karel Mitas)
When the 21-year-old Gioachino Rossini wrote his L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) for Venice in 1813 he had already made his début as an opera composer two and a half years earlier, yet this was his tenth opera—a quarter of all the operas which he was to write up to 1829. The majority of these creative pyrotechnics were inspired by the fun-loving lagoon city of Venice, where Rossini made his operatic début with the small farsa La cambiale di matrimonio (The Bill of Marriage). With his next farsa, L’inganno felice (The Happy Deception), also written for the same house, the Teatro San Moisè, Rossini gained such huge popularity that the impresario there immediately signed him up to
write three further one-act operas. So straightaway Rossini returned to Venice, even though by then he was fêted elsewhere: he had received commissions from Bologna and Ferrara but it was in Milan that he achieved overnight fame when his opera La pietra del paragone (The Touchstone) triumphed at La Scala. Next came an important commission from the Teatro la Fenice to write his first serious opera Tancredi, which was another triumph for the young man. Rossini experienced what it meant to have success, to be celebrated, from being the poor son of a town trumpeter to becoming a personality much in demand—a feeling of optimism took hold of him, which allowed him to forget his initial feelings of angst. Out of this eruption of high spirits was born L’Italiana in Algeri, the acme of deliriousness, of unparalleled euphoria.
Along with Venice’s small theatres, which included the aforementioned Teatro San Moisè, and the large La Fenice, there was also another local theatre, the San Benedetto, which was used by various theatre troupes. For the 1813 spring season the Philharmonic Dilettantes, led by the impresario Giovanni Gallo, organized a short season ‘For the Good of the Poor’ for which Rossini’s La pietra del paragone and a newly-composed opera by Carlo Coccia, to a libretto by Gaetano Rossi, were advertised. In the cast were two renowned singers, the contralto Maria Marcolini and the bass Filippo Galli, who a few months earlier had triumphed in Rossini’s Pietra in Milan, so it was no wonder that this hit was now introduced to the Venetians.
The première of La pietra del paragone took place on 19 April but the Venetians, perhaps a little prejudiced against something imported from Milan, reacted to it guardedly and criticized it for its extravagant orchestration; ten days later the opera was replaced by Stefano Pavesi’s Ser Marcantonio. Eventually, from the 8 to 20 March, the first act of Pavesi’s opera and the second act of Rossini’s opera were performed in tandem, an indication that neither work was completely convincing and that the impresario wanted to keep the public onside with this pastiche until Coccia’s new opera was ready. But it was a long time coming. At this point Gallo, as has always been assumed up to now, had implored Rossini to write a new opera immediately, in order to bridge the gap caused by the delay of the Coccia opera. This work, to a libretto by Giuseppe Foppa (instead of the advertised Gaetano Rossi), and with the title of La donna selvaggia (The Wild Woman), finally reached the stage on 26 June 1813.
The Rossini scholar Paolo Fabbri has advanced another theory: ‘It was the composer who had recklessly offered, on account of having made such a poor
impression, to redeem himself.’ In fact there is little evidence to suggest that the impresario felt inclined, in an already difficult season, to put on a second new opera, a much more difficult undertaking than to fall back on an existing work which was already in the singers’ repertoire. What is sure is that Rossini changed his original plans and by 8 May was already at work on the new opera, as his father, who was waiting for him at the little town of Adria in the Veneto region, learnt in a letter from him: ‘I am taking advantage of Giuseppe Bedolo’s return to Adria, to tell you of my good health and that of Mama and at the same time to ask you to call on Malanotte and to tell her that I am writing an opera for the Teatro San Benedetto and that, as a result, I shall not have the pleasure of your company in Adria.’
The ease with which Rossini set to work suggests that the initiative for writing this opera, completely free of plagiarism, came from the composer himself: he probably found in the libretto to L’Italiana in Algeri written by Angelo Anelli, whom he had met in Milan, a congenial model. So there was no need to have a new libretto written in an impossibly short time-scale as a last-minute replacement, but on the contrary, a good excuse at last to be able to set to music a libretto of quality. Two years later, when he was on the look-out for a suitable libretto for his début in Rome, Rossini requested from Anelli a libretto with words which would exactly fit the character of the Italiana: ‘I’m writing this carnival for Rome and what I would like from you is a humorous libretto full of spectacle, do you understand? […] If you already have to hand an old libretto, then simply adapt it, so long as it’s funny.’ ‘Last, but not least, what I would ask of you is for something outlandish in your ideas for the subject, the metres and the action etc.’ One could assume from this that Rossini was aware of the opera that had already been written to this text, by Luigi Mosca, the score of which was in the archive of La Scala’s copyist Giovanni Ricordi, and which he was probably able to study. To a certain extent also the urge to measure himself against his colleagues would probably have played a part.
A comparison of the two versions of the libretto clearly shows that countless changes had to be made to the new setting. Although the structure of the opera has not been inherently changed, emphases have been shifted, above all in relation to the principal character of Isabella. So that she can effectively begin the second scene (the hijacked ship on the beach at Algiers) an aria for Taddeo has had to be dropped, in order to complement Isabella’s performance of the cavatina with
a forceful cabaletta. A second aria for Lindoro would have merely delayed the first finale and was therefore cut. In the second act Isabella would have sung a love-duet with Lindoro but it was deemed superfluous, so it was replaced by a new aria for Lindoro, so that the prima donna could come into her own with an additional aria in the next-but-one number. So now Isabella has three arias, instead of two, while Lindoro’s two arias are better distributed. Mustafà retains his numbers but his appearance in the introduction, as well as his aria, are completely new, in order to invest the Bey with a macho character, which is contrasted all the more with his downfall. In the two big ensemble numbers, the finale of Act 1 and the Act 2 quintet, some passages have been added or altered, which give due weight to the ensembles. All these adjustments can plainly be put down to Rossini’s musical and dramatic requirements, and they show very clearly how disinclined he was to set just any text at the drop of a hat, even “a washing-list” (as the anecdote has it). For him the structure of the opera and the inner meaning of the individual characters had, above all, to be right.
The opinion is often put forward that Rossini had cut the duet between Isabella and Lindoro because of his aversion to love-duets, but there are enough examples of
these in Rossini’s oeuvre to confound this view. Here in L’Italiana the love-duet disrupted the flow of the opera, on the one hand within the action, since the love between Lindoro and Isabella is not central to the opera, meaning that it is never called into question (her little misunderstanding is cleared up in a short recitative), while a duet would only have held up the action without creating a new situation; on the other hand, in the musical loading of the solos (above all Isabella’s) both singers already have to sing duets with Mustafà and Taddeo.
Much importance has been, and still is, attached to Isabella’s patriotic rondo, and Rossini himself acknowledged this when, half a century later, he tried to
counter his reputation as a reactionary, while pointing out that he had set these verses passionately and successfully while he was still in his artistic youth. With
hindsight such an interpretation was an easy one to make. In the year 1813 the “spirited” setting could hardly be attributable to political-patriotic reasons. These verses already existed word for word in 1808 and had in 1813 at most a political significance in this respect, when it was good form, with Venice being
under French influence, to allow patriotic sentiment to arise (‘Napoleon had just this minute rekindled patriotism’ Stendhal said). Fundamentally Rossini was not a political person, and if he succeeded musically in furnishing the text with patriotic fervour, so this should be attributed to his genius in putting into an appropriate form human emotions and feelings to which patriotism also belongs.
Not to be forgotten is the erotic component, which permeates the libretto. While in the Mosca version of the opera Isabella ended her aria with the innocuous verse:
‘La malizia del mio sesso | di costor trionferà’(‘The astuteness of my sex will win the day’) in Rossini there is added a rondo, in which the performer can let loose the full range of her flirtatiousness and which ends with verses which are more than ambiguous: ‘Tutti la bramano | tutti la chiedono | da vaga femmina | felicità’ (‘All desire her, all clamour for her, bliss from femininity’). No translation can do justice to this blatant lewdness, in which the expression vaga femmina can mean not only a pretty woman but also a precise anatomical term. So it is no wonder that, already in the following year (1814 in Milan), this final verse should be replaced by: ‘Ma un volto amabile | li fa cascar’ (‘But they all fall for a pretty face’), and that perhaps the replacement of the aria had to do with other pieces, as we shall see further below.
The performer should sing these salacious verses on the stage as though she had just thought of them herself: even if the famous pictures of Maria Marcolini show
only a little of her sex appeal, she was doubtless a performer who did not suppress her erotic charisma and she certainly turned on the charm when she was on stage
(and probably off it too). Stendhal even suggests that she was Rossini’s lover. She was specially fond of appearing in travesty rôles, so at least one disguise scene had to be featured. Rossini had already got to know “Marietta”, who was twelve years older than he, during his student days in Bologna, where they appeared together in public concerts. Already in his second opera, L’equivoco stravagante (The Curious Misunderstanding), there was a part for Marcolini, in which she played not only a girl who was suspected of being disguised as a eunuch, but who was also dressed as a soldier escaping from prison. And after this far too risqué opera was shut down by the police after three performances Rossini was allowed to write a new scene for Marietta in the proper trouser-rôle of Quinto Fabio by Domenico Puccini in which she appeared on horseback, a rôle whose interpretative possibilities she specially relished. A few months later Rossini wrote Ciro in Babilonia (Cyrus in Babylon) for Ferrara, with Marcolini in the title-rôle of the virile
conqueror Ciro, which also contained a prison scene typical of opera seria, with some of the cast in chains. The next collaboration, La pietra del paragone, marked Rossini’s début at La Scala. Maria Marcolini appeared in the rôle of the beautiful countess and eventually as a dandified officer who rendered the women on stage (and the men in the audience) weak at the knees. Their final collaboration was Sigismondo, once again with Rossini’s patroness in the trouser title-rôle. As we shall see, the rôle of Isabella was to be Marietta’s most feminine Rossini rôle in which this time, actually playing the part of a woman, she twists the men round her little finger.
It took Rossini barely a month to write L’Italiana in Algeri, an astonishingly short time, even allowing for the fact that the recitative, Haly’s aria and probably Lindoro’s second aria were composed by an assistant; it is remarkable then that this masterpiece—perhaps as opposed to Il barbiere di Siviglia—does not feature self-borrowings from earlier operas (and would not also provide such a service for later ones.)
L’Italiana in Algeri reached the stage of the Teatro San Benedetto on 22 May 1813 and two days later the local paper carried a rave review of it. Along with the aforementioned Maria Marcolini as Isabella the cast included Filippo Galli as Mustafà, Serafino Gentili (Lindoro), Paolo Rosich (Taddeo), Luttgart Annibaldi (Elvira), Annunziata Berni Chelli (Zulma) and Giuseppe Spirito (Haly). Owing to the indisposition of Marcolini the second performance did not take place until 29 May, after which it ran for the whole of June. Already after the second performance of the opera the critic of the Giornale dipartimentale dell’Adriatico wrote prophetically: “On Sunday evening the blossoming genius of this clever maestro was acclaimed, with programmes being thrown into the air and a standing ovation; and Rossini’s L’ Italiana in Algeri, on account of its genius and artistry, will be counted everywhere among the finest of operas.” Rossini himself was also well aware of this and many times he supervised new productions of the opera on other stages.
So he personally oversaw the performances of it in Milan in the spring of 1814; in between two commissions for La Scala, Aureliano in Palmira (Aurelianus in Palmira) for the 1813/1814 carnival and Il Turco in Italia (The Turk in Italy) for the summer of 1814, he rehearsed L’Italiana in the newly-opened
Teatro Rè, where he had already presented Tancredi. It was here that he inserted two new arias for Isabella; the first, ‘Cruda sorte!’, received a new orchestral introduction, while the second, ‘Per lui che adoro’, in the second act, underwent a significant change: the
accompanying solo instrument, which in Venice had been entrusted to the cellist Valentino Bertoia, was now replaced by a flute. But Rossini made the biggest change
to the rôle of Lindoro in the second act; his brief aria ‘Oh come il cor di giubilo’ was replaced by the substantial and more virtuoso cavatina ‘Concedi, amor pietoso’ (No. 9a / CD 2, Track 4). Perhaps Rossini wanted to replace the aria (which was probably not written by him) with a number which he had written, or perhaps Serafino Gentili, who again was singing the role of Lindoro asked for an aria which would bring him greater attention.
On 12 August 1815 the Corriere delle Dame asserted that: “L’Italiana in Algeri is probably Maestro Rossini’s masterpiece and is perhaps the only one among his operas which, because of its real beauty, is admired in all the important theatres in Italy.” L’Italiana continued on its triumphant path and was the first of Rossini’s operas to reach Germany, where it was performed in Munich in 1816. Even today it is the embodiment of Rossini’s most boisterous buffo style, and it caused Stendhal to sum it up with the felicitous words as: “…organized, total lunacy.”
English translation by David Stevens
 No. 1: Sinfonia
 The scene is set in a hall adjoining the quarters of the Bey of Algiers, Mustapha, and of his wife, Elvira. In the centre is a sofa on which Elvira is reclining, attended by her maid, Zulma, and a chorus of eunuchs. The latter try to comfort Elvira, whose husband has tired of her. Zulma adds her own pleas, as women are made to obey. The voice of Haly, Captain of the Algerian corsairs, is heard announcing the approach of the Bey, who enters, complaining of the arrogance of women and of the
trouble they cause. He is determined to put an end to the vexation Elvira gives him. Zulma urges her mistress to speak up bravely, while the eunuchs have their own
misgivings. Elvira approaches Mustapha, who angrily dismisses her, at a loss how to deal with her. In the following ensemble he tells of his own changing humours, when he sees other girls, while the others comment on his anger.
 Mustapha dismisses all except Haly, whom he orders to bring him his Italian slave, continuing to complain of his dilemma with Elvira; he could give her to the Italian as a wife. Haly objects that the man is not a Turk, but Mustapha sees no objection there, after all he is the one who makes the laws. He goes on to explain his boredom with the women of his harem and his desire for an Italian woman; Haly must find such a woman for him within six days, on pain of death. Mustapha enters his apartment and Haly leaves.
 Mustapha’s Italian slave, Lindoro, enters, singing of his beloved, separated from him by the ocean, always faithful to him.
 Lindoro longs to return home to Italy. He is joined by Mustapha, who tells Lindoro he is to marry. Lindoro hesitates, doubting the possibility of marriage without
love, but Mustapha suggests that surely money sometimes enters into it. Lindoro is bound to agree, up to a point, but Mustapha offers to show him his bride, a fair face, heart and the rest, posing a problem to Lindoro.
 Lindoro suggests that marriage must be a matter for prior consideration. Mustapha, in reply, assures him that his choice has everything Lindoro could want, riches, beauty and love. Lindoro wants honesty, a quality Mustapha assures him she has; fine eyes, which she has; black hair, fine complexion, all of which she has. Lindoro is in difficulties, loyal to his beloved, while Mustapha urges him to accept the girl he is offering him.
 The scene changes to the seashore. In the distance a ship wrecked in the diminishing storm can be seen, with people trying to escape. The corsairs’ ship draws near, and Haly, with other corsairs, approaches by land. The corsairs see the possibility of plunder from the sinking ship, and of women. This, Haly thinks, will be lucky for Mustapha. Among those disembarking is Isabella, just the thing for Mustapha. Isabella laments her fate, praying for help, but resolving to stand firm against the corsairs, using every female wile.
 Isabella repeats her resolve to stand firm. The corsairs have seized her travelling companion, Taddeo, who cries out for help. Isabella tells the men that he is
her uncle and that they are both Italians, to the delight of Haly, who can now satisfy the Bey, as he leaves with the good news.
 Taddeo fears their fate, but Isabella is resolute. Taddeo tells her that he knows that she has sailed in the hope of finding her beloved Lindoro, but he fears his
own possible fate.
 Isabella can bear misfortune but not jealousy. Taddeo is fearful for the future. Isabella thinks a Turk better than a rascal and is impatient with Taddeo and his pretensions. On reflection, however, she realises that she needs protection, and Taddeo that he needs her help. The quarrel is ended, for whatever reason, and they resolve to continue posing as niece and uncle.
 The scene is the hall of the opening. Zulma is amazed that Lindoro has refused Elvira, who, for her part, knows the kind of thing to expect from a husband.Zulma
reminds them that the Bey’s word is law and tells them to be quiet, as Mustapha is approaching. Mustapha enters, promising to let Lindoro go back to Italy, as long as he takes Elvira with him, and willing to give him money. He tells Lindoro to hurry to arrange matters with the captain of the Italian ship moored nearby, and he
leaves to do so. Mustapha tells Elvira that Italy will suit her very well. Haly enters with the news that a beautiful Italian girl has been found for his master, who, in turn, is delighted, and orders the women of the harem to be brought out to witness his triumph. Elvira must go at once, and can take Zulma with her, if she wants.
 Mustapha anticipates the pleasure to come, breaking off to urge Elvira and Zulma away and to tell Haly to bring the Italian beauty to him, showing her all respect. He goes out, accompanied by Haly and his attendants.
 Elvira admits to Zulma that, in spite of everything, she loves Mustapha. They are joined by Lindoro with news that the ship is ready to sail. He asks Elvira how
she can still love Mustapha and promises her that in Italy she shall have all the husbands and lovers she wants.
The scene is set in a magnificent hall, with a sofa for the Bey and at the back a balcony, on which stand the women of the harem. Mustapha is seated on the sofa,
surrounded by the eunuchs, who sing in praise of the Bey, tamer of women. Haly tells Mustapha that the Italian girl is outside.
 Isabella is brought in, remarking to herself on the ugliness of the Bey and confident that she can deal with him. He, on the other hand, is delighted with her, but resolved to hide his feelings, which he barely succeeds in doing. Isabella addresses him, seeking his protection. Aside, Mustapha is captivated and Isabella is even surer of herself.
 Taddeo makes his way in, pushing Haly aside and introducing himself as Isabella’s uncle, but seeing that the Bey is won over by Isabella’s beauty. The Bey orders his execution but relents when Isabella tells him that Taddeo is her uncle, as the latter continues to tremble in fear at his possible fate. Mustapha is in love, and Isabella flatters him by declaring that he knows how to love.
 Elvira, Zulma and Lindoro come to bid farewell to the Bey. Isabella is amazed to see her Lindoro and he too can hardly believe his eyes. Mustapha is mystified by
what is happening, as the two stand in wonderment. Isabella demands to know the identity of the woman with Lindoro, explained by Mustapha as his former wife, before he met Isabella. Isabella deplores his barbarity and demands that Elvira be allowed to stay and the man can be her slave. The situation is complicated and the act ends in general consternation.
 The scene is set in the small hall of Act I. Elvira and Zulma are there, with Haly and the eunuchs. These last comment on Mustapha’s folly. Elvira comments on Isabella’s cunning, tricking Mustapha.
 Elvira discusses the situation with Haly and Zulma, the latter suggesting that Mustapha will soon be glad to come back to Elvira again. As Mustapha approaches,
Haly tells her to agree with the Bey and play for time. Mustapha asks the two women to tell the Italian girl that he will take coffee with her. Mustapha has information
through the Italian slave and will have his way; he proposes to use Taddeo to serve his purpose.
 Isabella laments her misfortune, to find Lindoro, but with another. Lindoro approaches her, pleading, but she is angry at his proposed match with Elvira. Lindoro tries to explain the situation, and she suggests that they both make their escape together; for the moment they must part.
 Lindoro is delighted to have found his Isabella and to have been able to calm her anger at his supposed liaison with Elvira.
 Lindoro goes, and Mustapha enters, followed by Taddeo, then Haly and two Moors carrying a turban and a Turkish costume and sabre, accompanied by a chorus of eunuchs. Mustapha would like to be alone with the Italian girl. Taddeo begs the Bey for mercy, seeing himself followed by what seem to be the implements of imminent execution. Mustapha explains that the attendants bear the symbols of Taddeo’s appointment as Grand Kaimakam.
 Haly dresses Taddeo in Turkish robes and puts the turban on his head, while Mustapha fastens on him a scabbard. The eunuchs sing praise of the Grand Kaimakam, with the strength of a lion and the cunning of a serpent.
 Taddeo does not understand the meaning of this honour, but Mustapha assures him that he is now the Bey’s lieutenant. Taddeo, at a loss, admits to Mustapha
that he is a fool and can barely read, but is told that his task is to make Isabella love him.
 Taddeo finds the turban too heavy on his head and the clothes troublesome; he would rather refuse this honour, but seeing Mustapha’s anger, agrees to remain
Kaimakan, a decision applauded by the eunuchs, who sing his praises. Taddeo offers thanks and promises to approach Isabella, while worried by the situation in which he finds himself.
 The scene changes to a fine ground-floor apartment, with a loggia opening towards the sea. Isabella is dressing in Turkish costume, with Zulma and Elvira.
Isabella orders her slave, Lindoro, to bring coffee for three, but Elvira suggests that the Bey wants to see Isabella alone. Isabella is shocked at Elvira’s apparent complaisance and advises her to learn from her how wives should handle their husbands. She tells Elvira to go to one side and watch.
 Isabella, attended by her female slaves, continues dressing, making herself more beautiful for her lover, and observed by Mustapha, Taddeo and Lindoro. She
adds that Mustapha does not know what kind of woman she is. The men, apart, comment on the scene, finding Isabella irresistible, while she has every intention of
tricking the Bey. Her dressing completed, she goes out and her slaves retire.
 Mustapha tells Lindoro to fetch Isabella to him, and, as he goes, Lindoro resolves to speak to her alone. Mustapha tells Taddeo to find Isabella, and when he
demurs, tells him that that is his duty. Lindoro returns to announce that Isabella will be with him in a moment. The Bey tells Taddeo that he must leave them together
when he gives the sign by sneezing.
 Isabella enters and Mustapha presents to her Taddeo, now a Kaimakam, a sign of his respect for her. She finds this just the thing for a man that looks like that and openly thanks the Bey. Taddeo tells Isabella the reason for his promotion and Lindoro tells Mustapha to see how Taddeo fulfils his duty. She addresses Mustapha as her dear one and Mustapha duly sneezes, a signal he has to repeat several times, while Taddeo refuses to go, to the amusement of Lindoro and Isabella. Two Moors bring
coffee and Isabella welcomes in Elvira, invited, she says, by her husband. Mustapha is furious, threatening revenge, as the others tell him to console his wife.
 In a smaller room Haly is pleased enough at the Bey’s discomfiture.
 Haly finds Italian women supreme in cunning and in making men love them.
 Haly goes out, and Taddeo and Lindoro enter. Lindoro tells Taddeo that Isabella will need his help in order to escape. Taddeo reveals his identity, not as Isabella’s uncle but as her suitor; he had heard tell of a certain Lindoro, but is now sure of her affection. Lindoro, his identity still unknown to Taddeo, tells him to watch how he deals with Mustapha.
 They are joined by Mustapha, who tells Taddeo that he must clarify matters with his niece. Lindoro tells the Bey that Isabella is really in love with him, and, as Mustapha makes to go to her, adds that she will receive him with due ceremony as her Pappataci.
 Mustapha is delighted at the supposed honour, which Lindoro explains is an old Italian title. Taddeo adds that this is the counterpart of his honour as Kaimakam. They tell Mustapha of the preliminary duties, drinking, sleeping and eating, a plan that he finds delightful.
 In a magnificent apartment Lindoro and Taddeo discuss Isabella’s plan to release all the Italian captives, one group dressed as Pappataci and the others to join them on the ship. They see Isabella and her entourage approaching.
 The Italian slaves are ready for their freedom.
 Isabella tells the men to stay together, for soon their danger will be over. Now Taddeo and Lindoro must be guided by a woman.
 Isabella tells them to think of their country and be brave. She rebukes Taddeo for laughing and bids Lindoro have courage; loves makes her bolder, and soon they shall see their own country again.
 Taddeo is delighted at the success of Isabella’s plan, which he thinks has been for his benefit. Mustapha asks him where his niece is, and Taddeo claims that she is busy preparing to receive him into the order of the Pappataci, a reply that delights Mustapha.
 Lindoro enters, accompanied by Pappataci, ready for the ceremony. The Pappataci call on the horns to sound and Lindoro and Taddeo laugh at the scene, while
Mustapha is delighted at the honour done him. The Pappataci remove Mustapha’s turban and robe and proudly dress him in a wig and the dress of a Pappataci.
 Isabella makes her entrance, summoning the one chosen to be a Pappataci to make the necessary promises, a duty that Mustapha willingly accepts, to general applause. Lindoro gives Taddeo a sheet of paper to read out and to be repeated by Mustapha. He must see and not see, hear and not hear, eat and drink and not mind what people say, and swear to this. Mustapha swears and is declared a Pappataci. The duties he must follow continue and, after Taddeo’s example, he sets to eating and drinking and being silent, as he has sworn.
 A ship appears, by the loggia, manned by sailors and European slaves. The sailors prepare to weigh anchor. Isabella tells Lindoro that it is time to go, but Taddeo, hearing the name Lindoro, realises that he has been gulled, while Mustapha, as a Pappataci, eats on and keeps silent. Taddeo decides to escape with Lindoro and Isabella.
 Elvira, with Zulma and Haly, ask Mustapha whether he cannot see what is going on, but the new Pappataci goes on eating and paying no attention. They think he is
mad, while Isabella, Lindoro and Taddeo are delighted at their success. Now at last Mustapha realises that he has been duped, and calls for his Turks, eunuchs and
Moors, who by now are all drunk. He understands his folly and will have no more of Italian girls, begging Elvira to forgive him. Isabella, Lindoro and Taddeo embark, ready to sail, bidden farewell by Elvira and the others. The moral, as the Italian girl has shown, must be that women will have their way.
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