Rossini's conquest of Munich in 1816. A virtual exhibition

On 18 June 1816, Gioachino Rossini's opera buffa "L'italiana in Algeri" was performed at the Munich court theatre. A memorable event, since this was not only the first time that an opera by Rossini was staged in Munich, but the first time in overall Germany! On stage, the opera was performed by the Italian troupe of the impresario Antonio Cera, a close friend of the young Rossini. Rossini's music took Munich by storm.

After the guest performance had been extended again and again up to the late autumn of 1816, "Tancredi" and "L'inganno felice" had been premiered as well only a few days after "L'italiana in Algeri" and "Ciro in Babilonia" had been staged in October in addition, the guest performances of Cera's troupe were institutionalised in Munich. Within a period of only eight years, between 1816 and 1824, the Italian opera ensemble presented 17 different operas by Rossini. As of 1821, also the German ensemble of the court opera could no longer ignore the enthusiasm for Rossini. Now, there were additional performances of Rossini operas in the German language at the National Theatre.

The virtual exhibition shows sources of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and a number of loans, all of which relate to the four Rossini operas staged in the year 1816: Performance materials (handwritten scores and voices), libretti, theatre handouts and reviews. Moreover, the unbelievable success of Rossini's operas in Munich is evidenced also by the adaptations of popular opera pieces for a large number of different instrumentations: The Munich music publishing house Falter published a broad range of individual editions of the most popular arias and duets from the Munich Rossini performances for music making in the private home, and the Munich court musicians Wilhelm Legrand, Peter Streck and Johann Baptist Widder adapted numerous pieces for wind-instrument dominated "Harmonie" music.

Virtual exhibition
"You, my dear Rossini! I will mention first" – Rossini's conquest of Munich in 1816


Picture credit of the header image:
Gioachino Rossini, 1819. Steel engraving on the basis of a drawing by Louis Dupré (after 1820) | © Collection Reto Müller