Turco in Italia, Il (The Turk in Italy)
  • Gioachino Rossini. Dramma buffo in two acts. 1814.
  • Libretto by Felice Romani, after the libretto by Caterino Mazzola.
  • First performance at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 14th August, 1814.
CHARACTERS

Selim, the Turk

bass

Fiorilla, a young Neapolitan

soprano

Geronio, her husband

bass

Narciso, her lover

tenor

Zaida, a Turk

mezzo-soprano

Albazar, a Turk

tenor

Prosdocimo, a poet

baritone

The poet Prosdocimo finds the subject for a new comedy in the ill-matched Geronio and his flirtatious wife Fiorilla, prepared, already, to throw her cap at Selim, the Turkish Pasha, once loved by Zaida, a girl who has taken refuge in a gypsy encampment near Naples, accompanied by Albazar. Fiorilla entertains Selim, newly arrived in Naples, to coffee, and deals with both Geronio and Narciso. Prosdocimo advises Geronio to manage his wife with firmness, but his attempts at this prove unsuccessful. The principal characters gather at the gypsy camp, seeking their fortunes in one way or another. Selim meets Zaida again and Zaida and Fiorilla confront each other. Selim now suggests that he should buy Fiorilla from Geronio, a proposal the latter rejects. Prosdocimo, eager for a comic outcome, offers a further plan. At a masked ball Geronio should masquerade as Selim, to forestall the real Selim’s planned abduction of Fiorilla. Narciso overhears the plan, and assumes the same disguise, so that there are three Selims at the ball. Matters are finally resolved when the real Selim decides to return home with Zaida, and Fiorilla is left to make the best of the revelation of her fickle behaviour.

There is a lively overture to Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and witty comedy in a work that follows earlier custom in its contrast of manners.