15 Apr 2007


Mosè (Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge), Melodramma in four acts

Music composed by Gioachino Rossini. Libretto by Luigi Balocchi and Étienne de Jouy, Italian translation by Calisto Bassi.

First Performance: 26 March 1827, Opéra, Paris

Principal Characters:
Mosè, the Hebrews’ lawgiverBass
Elisero, his brotherTenor
Faraone, King of EgyptBass
Aménofi, his sonTenor
Aufide, Egyptian officerTenor
Osiride, High PriestBass
Maria, sister of MosèMezzo-Soprano
Anaìde, her daughterSoprano
Sinaide, wife of FaraoneSoprano
A mysterious voiceBass

Setting: Ancient Egypt


Moses promises to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. Anaïs and her mother have been released by Pharoah on the intervention of Queen Sinaïs, who is sympathetic to the Israelites. Anaïs loves Pharoah's son, but intends to leave with her people, while her lover Amenophis has decided she must stay. Moses brings upon Egypt the plague of darkness. This is raised, with freedom again promised, while Pharoah has arranged a marriage for his son Amenophis with an Assyrian princess, to his distress. The High Priest Osiris demands that Moses pay reverence to Isis before the Israelites leave. Moses refuses and the Israelites are sent away in chains. Amenophis and Anaïs meet, he still hoping that their love may be permitted. He warns her that Pharoah's army is pursuing the Israelites, who are now triumphantly led by Moses across the Red Sea, while Pharoah's men are drowned.

Rossini adapted his earlier opera Mosè in Egitto (Moses in Egypt) as Moïse et Pharaon, ou Le passage de la Mer Rouge (Moses and Pharoah, or The Passage of the Red Sea) for Paris, with a new libretto, creating the necessary grand opera spectacle that France demanded. Staging of the French version of the work makes obviously heavier demands on resources. This second opera for Paris marks a further step by Rossini towards his fourth and final opera for the French capital, Guillaume Tell (William Tell).

[Synopsis Source: Naxos]

Click here for the complete libretto.