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Theatre / L Italiana In Algeri

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L'Italiana in Algeri (The Italian girl in Algiers) is an operatic dramma giocoso in two acts by Gioachino Rossini (music) and Angelo Anelli (libretto)

The plot revolves around Isabella, a beautiful Italian girl who expertly juggles her admirers. Even when shipwrecked in Algiers, she never loses her confidence in her own abilities and manages to turn the head of Mustafà, the Bey of Algiers. Using his infatuation to her advantage, the smart Italian girl tricks him into making a fool of himself: in order to be worthy of the entirely fictitious title of Pappataci, he must eat, drink and be silent no matter what happens around him, allowing her to sneak away with all the freed Italian slaves right under his nose.


L'Italiana in Algeri provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Arranged Marriage: by Mustafà between Lindoro and Elvira, so he can get rid of her. Privately, Lindoro and Elvira agree not to go through with it.
  • Beta Couple: Mustafà and his wife Elvira
  • Butt-Monkey: Taddeo
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: according to Mustafà, Elvira is this.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Looking for Lindoro, Isabella just happens to be shipwrecked where he's held prisoner at the right time to start the whole plot.
  • Crowd Song: played straight in both acts and at the beginning of almost every scene. Subverted by act II, scene II, which opens with a recitativo
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Taddeo, the comic relief.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Taddeo says he'd rather do this than hold the candle to Isabella and Lindoro
  • Guile Hero: Isabella
  • Happy Ending
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  • "I Am" Song: Già so per pratica
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Taddeo is repeatedly threatened with this. It's Played for Laughs.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: ''Pappataci' does contain the words "eat" and "hush", but in reality it's the Italian word for "sandfly".
  • I Will Find You: Isabella and Lindoro during Act I.
  • Let's Duet
  • Love Dodecahedron: Elvira loves Mustafà, who is infatuated with Isabella, who is also courted by Taddeo but loves only Lindoro.
  • Love Triangle: one is averted. Elvira has been promised as a wife to Lindoro, but she only loves Mustafà and he is faithful to Isabella
  • Made a Slave: Lindoro sometime before the beginning of the opera.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: there are three, all expressing confusion:
    • Confusi e stupidi
    • Va sossopra il mio cervello at the end of act I
    • Sento un fremito, un foco, un dispetto in the middle of act II
  • May–December Romance: what Taddeo is hoping for.
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  • Misogyny Song: played straight with Mustafà's Delle donne l'arroganza (Women's arrogance), inverted with Haly's Le femmine d'Italia (Women of Italy)
  • Nepotism: Mustafà makes Taddeo his Kaimakan (Liutenant) to please Isabella and have "Uncle" Taddeo help him woo her. Taddeo is not pleased.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Lindoro has to do some fast talking about his supposed engagement to Elvira. Luckily for him, Isabella believes him.
  • Official Couple: Lindoro and Isabella
  • Oh, Crap!: Lindoro's reaction when Isabella is told he's to marry Elvira. Briefly during the Pappataci ceremony as well, when Mustafà is angered by Isabella and Lindoro's flirting.
  • Opening Chorus:
    • Serenate il mesto ciglio (Dry your sad eyes) for act I
    • Uno stupido, uno stolto (A fool, an idiot) for act II
  • Pirate: Haly
  • Playing the Victim Card: to be fair, Isabella is a victim of cirumstances. However, in her previous aria she cheerfully explained how she's not afraid of men and is confident she can manipulate them to her advantage.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: Taddeo and Isabella claim to be uncle and niece so he won't have to do hard work and she won't be alone among enemies.
  • Spicy Latina: the reason why Mustafà wants an Italian girl. It turns out Isabella is too spicy for him.
  • Two-Faced Aside: Isabella in Per lui che adoro, Isabella and Lindoro in Maledetto quel balordo. The arias of the Pappataci ceremony are built on this.
  • The Power of Love: In Pensa alla patria, Isabella claims that's what makes her brave enough to try and trick the Bey.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Taddeo tries to tell Mustafà that he's being tricked when he realizes one of the Italian slaves is Lindoro, Isabella's true love. Unfortunately for him, Mustafà assumes it's just part of the test for the title of Pappataci and ignores him.
  • Zany Scheme: the escape plan