G. Rossini’s opera “Ciro in Babilonia” in the context of Handel’s oratorio tradition
The article is devoted to the little-known opera “Ciro in Babylonia” by G. Rossini. This work was created in 1812 and became the first experience of the composer’s work with the plot of Holy Scripture in the operatic genre. The author considers this work in the context of the traditions of the “Old Testament oratorios” by G. F. Handel, and in particular, the oratorio “Belshazzar” (1744). Such a perspective of the study is due not only to Rossini’s interest in the work of the great German master, but also to a single historical event underlying the content of these works. Accordingly, Handel’s oratorio and Rossini’s opera are united by the concept of biblical historicism associated with the theme of Heavenly punishment for violating the moral and ethical laws of the Treaty (Covenant) of God with people. The analogies that have arisen in the analysis of the works under study point to a number of principles that, despite the difference in schools, eras and styles, “relate” Handel’s oratorio and Rossini’s romantic opera. Among these are the mythologization of the biblical plot through the introduction of additional collisions that deepen the lyrical side of the works, a special dramatic type of process, due to the specifics of the religious and philosophical content, as well as a bright belcanto nature, indicative not only for Rossini’s opera, but also for Handel’s oratorio. The latter is associated with the phenomenon of castrated singers, characteristic of the Baroque era.
“Ciro in Babylonia» became the first milestone on the way of G. Rossini’s reformatory activity in the field of the opera genre. The conceptual and dramatic principles outlined in this work and finally formed in the last edition of his opera “Moses in Egypt” will become the foundation for opera concepts with religious themes in the musical theater of the 19th century
G. Rossini, G. F. Handel, opera, oratorio, Bible, Holy Writ, biblical historicism, conceptual and dramatic principles.
Mikhaylova O. G. Rossini’s opera “Ciro in Babilonia” in the context of Handel’s oratorio tradition // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 4. Pp. 56-62.