Rossini's opera La gazza ladra ("The Thieving Magpie") is a sentimental comedy, or opera semiseria, as it was called at the time. Based on a true story, it is about a girl who is about to be executed for stealing a silver spoon when it turns out that the real culprit was a bird. The opera is rarely performed today, but its splendid overture is a beloved concert favorite. It is distinguished by its opening snare-drum solo which was quite unheard of at the time; it sets the stage for a military march that forms the overture's first section. This is followed by a regular sonata movement filled with unforgettable melodies and brilliant woodwind solos, ending with the inevitable "Rossini crescendo" in which a simple theme is repeated over and over again in ever richer orchestration until a glorious climax is reached.
La gazza ladra on our YouTube Channel
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