A poet with writer’s block, an elderly cuckold and his flirtatious young wife (and her lover), a charismatic Turk and his former fiancée: these are the ingredients for Rossini’s glittering early comedy, an elegant satire on opera itself and all its absurdities.
Premiered when Rossini was just 22, Il turco in Italia is the composer at his most sophisticated, a salon farce full of ‘double meanings, hypocrisy, smothered anger, forced smiles and asides through clenched teeth’. Driving the drama forwards is an exhilarating score that propels the action from misunderstanding to conflict to climax in a giddy series of ensembles. The effect is witty, disarming and often startlingly modern – a comedy that breaks all the rules, but somehow still ends happily ever after.
Following on from her critically acclaimed Don Pasquale, Mariame Clément directs Glyndebourne’s new production of Turco, conducted by Sesto Quatrini.