Rossini’s “Ivanhoe”

Posted on 10th July 2012 by simonbeattie

I’d never heard of this opera until I found this, a first edition of the libretto (Ivanhoé, opéra en trois actes, imité de l’Anglais, Paris, 1826), by Émile Deschamps and Gabriel-Gustave de Wailly after Sir Walter Scott’s novel, in a striking contemporary binding.  Rather than its being an original opera by Rossini, it was a pasticcio created, with the composer’s permission, by Antonio Pacini as a means of introducing Rossini’s music to Paris.  Scott was himself in Paris to see the opera, remarking: ‘It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very well.  The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice.  It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled [Rowena and Richard the Lionheart do not appear, for example, and Ivanhoe marries Rebecca], and the dialogue in a great part nonsense.  Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for the amusement of a strange people’ (Journal, 31 October 1826).

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One response to “Rossini’s “Ivanhoe””

  1. Monica Jurado Garcia says:

    Hello:
    Do you sell this Ivanhoe booklet?
    How much you ask for it?
    Is it original published in 1826?
    My email

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