Pietra del paragone, La (The Touchstone)
  • Gioachino Rossini. Melodramma giocoso in two acts. 1812.
  • Libretto by Luigi Romanelli.
  • First performance at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 26th September 1812.
CHARACTERS

La Marchesina Clarice

contralto

La Baronessa Aspasia

soprano

Donna Fulvia

mezzo-soprano

Il Conte Asdrubale

bass

Il Cavalier Giocondo, a poet

tenor

Macrobio, a journalist

baritone

Pacuvio, a poetaster

baritone

Fabrizio, Asdrubale’s servant

bass

Count Asdrubale, a rich young bachelor, is giving a party, attended by a number of pretentious fortune-hunters. He pretends to have lost all his money, proving thus the loyalty of the Marchesina Clarice, who poses as her own brother, to test the strength of the Count’s affection in her turn.

The opera includes a parody of critics in the affected Pacuvio’s pretentious Ombretta sdegnosa del Missipipi (Disdainful shadow of the Missipipi), with its ridiculous repetitions of the last syllables, and the poet Giocondo’s address to Clarice, Quell’alme pupille (Those gentle eyes).