Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon

CHAPTER EIGHT: Pappataci and Kaimakan: Reflections in a Mediterranean Mirror

​​Rossini, L’italiana in Algeri (Venice 1813)
Mustafa is saluted as the “scourge of women” by a chorus of eunuchs, who, in this Vienna production, are shown comically flagellating the women of the harem


   Viva, viva il flagel delle donne,     
   Che di tigri le cangia in agnelle.
   Chi non sa soggiogar queste belle
   Venga a scuola dal gran Mustafà.
         Long live the scourge of women,
         Who changes them from tigers to lambs.
         Whoever does not know how to subjugate these beauties
         May come to learn from the great Mustafa.

Luigi Mosca, L’italiana in Algeri  (Milan 1808)
The original setting of this same Angelo Anelli text—
“Viva, viva il flagel delle donne”— by Luigi Mosca from 1808:


Rossini, L’italiana in Algeri (Venice 1813)
The first encounter of Isabella and Mustafa:
“O che muso, che figura!”  (what a face, what a figure!) she sings mockingly.
“O che pezzo da sultano!” (what a piece for a sultan!) he sings admiringly.
Their clashing perspectives become the basis for the Rossinian duet. 

        —listen from 58:00 to 1:02:25


Rossini, L’italiana in Algeri (Venice 1813)
Act One finale: The singers transform themselves into Janissary percussion instruments. 


Rossini, L’italiana in Algeri (Venice 1813)
Mustafa learns that he is to be initiated as a Pappataci.
Trio for Lindoro, Mustafa, and Taddeo--
The Europeans explain, “Pappataci dee dormir, Pappataci dee mangiar.”   (Pappataci must sleep, Pappataci must eat.) 
“Bella vita!” exclaims Mustafa.

         —listen from 34:00 to 40:10


Rossini, L’italiana in Algeri (Venice 1813)
Isabella’s great patriotic aria  “Pensa alla patria,” 
rallying the Italian captives:

        —listen from 42:00 to 50:00
mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe performing in Philadelphia in 2000