Eddie Pensier writes:
Gioachino Rossini was not only one of the opera genre’s most notable composers, wits, bon vivants, and gourmands (steak grilled in butter, topped with foie gras, and finished with truffles and Madeira? Yes, please); he was a thief.
A tune-thief, to be precise. And to be fair, he mostly stole from himself. He was infamous for recycling overtures: at least three of his most famous (all featuring his signature crescendo) were previously used in lesser-known works.
One particular tune that repeats itself at least five times is “Non piu mesta”, Angelina’s cavatina from La Cenerentola. It’s also known as “Cessa di più resistere”, Count Almaviva’s Act 2 aria from Il barbiere di Siviglia, and “O Numi clementi” from Torvaldo e Dorliska, and “Ah, non potrian resistere” from Le nozze di Teti e Peleo, and “Cinga la benda candida” from Adelaide di Borgogna. (The last three are super-obscure.)
A heroically patient opera lover with the pseudonym LindoroRossini has uploaded the following audio to YouTube. It’s a pastiche of all five arias, with time-notes so you can follow who is singing when. I recommend opening up a separate window to read along. Clever and educational. Five arias in one!
If you want to hear the full tenor version of the Barbiere aria, here it is sung by the fantastic American tenor, Frank Lopardo. It’s often cut from live performances because it’s freakishly difficult and high even by Rossini-tenor standards.
- More about Rossini and food (he was buds with Carême, Brillat-Savarin, and Escoffier, who named several recipes after him including Poached Eggs alla Rossini and Fillet of Sole alla Rossini) from CultureKiosque.