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Ricciardo e Zoraide

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Title: Ricciardo e Zoraide  
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Subject: Lucia Elizabeth Vestris, Teatro di San Carlo, Mauro Giuliani, Her Majesty's Theatre, Tenore contraltino, Isabella Colbran, The opera corpus, William Matteuzzi, Opera Rara, Della Jones
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Ricciardo e Zoraide

Ricciardo e Zoraide (Ricciardo and Zoraide) is an opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Francesco Berio de Salsa. The text is based on cantos XIV and XV of Il Ricciardetto, an epic poem by Niccolò Forteguerri.

Performance history

Ricciardo e Zoraide was first performed at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples, on 3 December 1818.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 3 December 1818
(Conductor: Nicola Festa )
Agorante, King of Nubia, infatuated with Zoraide tenor Andrea Nozzari
Zomira, wife of Agorante contralto Benedetta Rosmunda Pisaroni
Zamorre, confidant of Agorante tenor Gaetano Chizzola
Elmira, confidant of Zomira mezzo-soprano Raffaella de Bernardis
Ircano, a Nubian prince bass Michele Benedetti
Zoraide, daughter of Ircano, in love with Ricciardo soprano Isabella Colbran
Ricciardo, a Christian paladin knight, in love with Zoraide tenor Giovanni David
Fatima, confidant of Zoraide mezzo-soprano Maria Manzi
Ernesto, friend of Ricciardo, Christian camp ambassador, tenor Giuseppe Ciccimarra


Place: the city of Dongola in ancient Nubia.
Time: The time of the Crusades

The Nubian King Agorante, who is infatuated with Zoraide, has defeated her father, Ircano and captured her. Ricciardo, a Christian knight and Zoraide's lover, accompanies an emissary to plead for her release. Agorante's jealous wife, Zomira, arranges the capture of Ricciardo as well and plots to have the young lovers executed to protect her position as Queen. The opera ends with an army of Christian knights rescuing Ricciardo and Zoraide. Ricciardo spares Agorante's life.


Year Cast:
Agorante, Zoraide, Ricciardo, Zomira
Opera House and Orchestra
1990 Bruce Ford,
June Anderson,
William Matteuzzi.
Gloria Scalchi
Riccardo Chailly, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Prague Philharmonic Chorus VHS Video: Bel Canto Society
Cat: #619
1995 Bruce Ford,
Nelly Miricioiu,
William Matteuzzi,
Della Jones
David Parry,
Orchestra of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
Audio CD: Opera Rara
Cat: ORC 14




  • in Amadeus Almanac,, in Italian Retrieved 31 May 2011
  • Farr, Robert, , Opera Rara, Music Web International.
  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 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
  • Osborne, Richard, "Ricciardo e Zoraide" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Stanley Sadie (Ed.). (London: MacMillan, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  • Steen, Michael and Richard Osborne, The Lives and Times of the Great Composers: His Life and Works, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 271-278. ISBN 0-19-518129-8

External links

  • Libretto in Italian Retrieved 13 December 2012

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