Ciro in babilonia

Ciro in Babilonia, ossia La caduta di Baldassare (Cyrus in Babylon, or The Downfall of Belshazzar) is an azione sacra in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Francesco Aventi. It was first performed at the Teatro Comunale, Ferrara during Lent, 1812. The exact date of the premiere is unknown but is believed to be March 14. During Lent it was the custom for Italian opera houses either to close or to stage works on themes from the Bible. Ciro in Babilonia is one of two Lenten operas by Rossini (along with Mosè in Egitto) and is based on the Biblical story of the overthrow of the Babylonian king Belshazzar by the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great.

Performance history

In a concert form, the work's UK premiere took place on 30 January 1823 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London.[1] The quasi-opera premiered in the United States on 7 July 2012 at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as part of the Festival, starring contralto Ewa Podles in the title role, tenor Michael Spyres as Baldassare (Belshazzar), and soprano Jessica Pratt as Amira, with Will Crutchfield conducting. Performances with the same principal singers opened in a more elaborate staging on 10 August 2012 at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. [2]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, March 14(?), 1812[3]
(Conductor: - )
Baldassare, King of Assyria tenor Eliodoro Bianchi
Ciro, King of Persia contralto Marietta Marcolini
Amira, wife of Ciro, imprisoned by Baldassare soprano Elisabetta Manfredini-Guarmani
Argene, confidant of Almira mezzo-soprano Anna Savinelli
Zambri, Babylonian prince bass Giovanni Layner
Arbace, captain in Baldassare's army tenor Francesco Savinelli
Daniello, prophet bass Giovanni Fraschi


Time: 539 B.C.
Place: Babylon[4]


Year Cast:
Baldassare, Ciro, Amira, Argene
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [5]
1988 Ernesto Palacio,
Caterina Calvi,
Daniela Dessi,
Oriana Ferraris
Carlo Rizzi,
Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and Coro Francesco Cilea di Reggio
(Recording of a performance in the Teatro Chiabrera, Savona, 30 October)
Audio CD: Hunt, Cat: 105;
Arkadia, Cat: CDAK 105.2;
Celestial Audio, Cat: CA 502
2004 Riccardo Botta,
Annarita Gemmabella,
Luisa Islam-Ali-Zade,
Maria Soulis
Antonino Fogliani,
Württembergische Philharmonie Orchestra and ARS Brunensis Chamber Choir
(Recorded at 3 performances at the Wildbad Festival, July)
Audio CD: Naxos
Cat: 8.660203/4
2008 Cyril Auvity,
Nora Gubisch,
Elena de la Merced,
Sophie Daneman
Jean-Claude Malgoire,
La Grande Ecurie et La Chambre du Roy and Choeur de Chambre de Namur
(Recording of a concert performance in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 12 January)
Audio CD: Premiere Opera
Cat: ??


  • Holden, Amanda, ed. The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2001 ISBN 0-14-029312-4
  • Osborne, Charles, The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1994 ISBN 0-931340-71-3

External links

  • Libretto in Italian Retrieved 13 December 2012

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