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Oh! che muso che figura

Opera details:

Opera title:

L' Italiana in Algeri


Giaochino Rossini




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L' Italiana in Algeri Libretto



Duet details:




Mustafà / Isabella


Bass / Contralto



Previous scene: Viva viva il flagel delle donne
Next scene: Vo star con mia nipote

L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI - Conchita Supervia 1928 (Rossini)

Singer: Conchita Supervía

Atto I

(0:01) Ai capricci della sorte …
Donna Isabella - Conchita Supervia
with Vincenzo Bettoni, bass
11 February 1928; (xxS 4596, xxS 4597-2) Fonotipia 120162

(07:17) Oh, che muso, che figura! ...
Donna Isabella - Conchita Supervia
with Vincenzo Bettoni, bass
11 February 1928; (xxS 4598) Fonotipia 120200

Atto II

(11:48) Per lui che adoro ...
Donna Isabella - Conchita Supervia
with Nino Ederle, tenor; Carlo Scattola, bass; Vincenzo Bettoni, bass
13 February 1928; (xxS 4617) Fonotipia 120200

(15:26) Amici, in ogni evento … Pensa alla Patria ...
Vedi, per tutta Italia ...
Donna Isabella - Conchita Supervia
12 and 13 February 1928; (SO 4613, SO 4614) Fonotipia 168167


"L'Italiana" is a determined Italian lady, sung by "Coloratura Mezzo", who travels to Algiers to search for her lover, Lindoro, kidnapped and held as a slave by Mustafa, the Bey of Algiers. Isabella's wit and charm prove too much for Mustafa and his retinue, and she is able to escape with Lindoro at the end...


She was the greatest Coloratura Mezzo, and the First Coloratura Mezzo... Conchita Supervia (1895—1936) recorded over 200 sides for Fonotipia and later for Odeon. I believe what makes Supervia so well liked is the unique timbre of her voice that is immediately recognizable, the gentle vocal acting (with no overdramatization), the unmannered singing, the easy coloratura technique, the wide range, the obvious enjoyment.

Supervia’s personality and vocal style were equally unique; her career the stuff of which legends are made. Beginning with the voice, it was — in Desmond Shawe-Taylor’s words — “a genuine mezzo-soprano of more than two octaves, from low G to high B”. He goes on to comment on her “remarkable agility: she could sing scales, arpeggios and the most elaborate roulades without turning a hair”. The most controversial aspect of her singing style was and remains — “the passionate, rapidly beating vibrato… [it] is quite another thing from the usual tremolo or wobble, caused by faulty breathing and physical insecurity”. Supervia was indeed different. “There is never anything insecure about Supervia. She has full control over her vocal resources, and, like a violinist, uses more or less vibrato at will”. One can only add that on any of her records, Supervia’s voice is immediately recognizable — unique and inimitable.

On stage Supervia was concentrating on the roles with which we most associate her: Carmen, Cenerentola, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri, and Rosina.

“Her gaiety, good temper, sympathy, and charm cloaked a keen intelligence and adamantine will power. To be with her was to inhabit a land of cloudless happiness” (Ivor Newton)

“She had the rare gift which enabled her to penetrate beneath the externals of musical form and to recreate the human qualities of everything that she touched” (H. M. Barnes and Victor Girard)


Carlo Maria Giulini - L'Italiana in Algeri - Overture (Sinfonia):
James Levine - L'Italiana in Algeri - Overture (Sinfonia):

Juan Diego Flórez - Languir per una bella (Torino, 2001):


Watch videos with other singers performing Oh! che muso che figura:


Isabella, Mustafà, gli Eunuchi.

(Oh! Che muso, che figura!...
Quali occhiate!...Ho inteso tutto.
Del mio colpo or son sicura.
Sta a veder quel ch'io so far.)

(Oh! Che pezzo da Sultano!
Bella taglia!...viso strano...
Ah! M'incanta...m'innamora.
Ma convien dissimular.)

Maltrattata dalla sorte,
Condannata alle ritorte...
Ah, voi solo, o mio diletto.
Mi potete consolar.

(Mi saltella il cor nel petto.
Che dolcezza di parlar!)

(In gabbia è già il merlotto,
Nè più mi può scappar!
Del mio colpo or son sicura.
Oh! Che muso, che figura!...
Sta a veder quel ch'io so far.)

(Io son già caldo e cotto,
Nè più mi so frenar.
Ah! M'incanta...m'innamora.
Che taglia!... Ma bisogna simular.
Oh! Che pezzo!...Ma bisogna simular.)

English Libretto or Translation:

Isabella, Mustapha, the Eunuchs.

(Oh, what a face, what a figure! ...
What glances! ... I understood everything.
Of my shock, I am sure.
He's going to see what I can do.)

(Oh, what a Sultan's piece!
Nice size! ... weird face ...
Ah! Enchants me ... I make me love her.
But convien dissimular.)

Mistreated by fate,
Condemned to the twists ...
Ah, you alone, my beloved.
You can console me.

(He jumps my heart into his chest.
What a sweetness to talk about!)

(In the cage is already the lace,
No more can he escape me!
Of my shock, I am sure.
Oh! What a face, what a figure! ...
He's going to see what I can do.)

(I am already hot and cooked,
Nor can I stop myself.
Ah! Enchants me ... I make me love her.
What size! ... But we must simulate.
Oh! What a piece! ... But we must simulate.)

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