Torvaldo e Dorliska

Torvaldo e Dorliska (Torvaldo and Dorliska) is an operatic dramma semiserio in two acts by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by the revolutionary Jean-Baptiste Louvet de Couvrai, whose work was the source of the Lodoïska libretto set by Luigi Cherubini (1791), and Lodoiska set by Stephen Storace (1794), and Simon Mayr (1796).

Torvaldo e Dorliska is a rescue opera with an eventual happy ending. The inclusion of buffo roles is the reason for its designation as a 'semiserio' work, similar to Rossini's La gazza ladra.

Performance history

Torvaldo and Dorliska was first performed at the Teatro Valle, Rome, on 26 December 1815. It remained in the repertory and appeared in several Italian cities including Venice for the next twenty five years, though it was never a great critical success. While there were no productions staged in London nor New York, it was staged in ten European cities in the ten years after its Rome premiere.

The opera was presented in Vienna in 1987 and in Savona in 1989.[1] It was given at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro as part of the 2006 season and again in 2017. [2]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 26 December 1815[3]
(Conductor: - )
Torvaldo tenor Domenico Donzelli
Dorliska, wife of Torvaldo soprano Adelaide Sala
Duke of Ordow bass Filippo Galli
Giorgio, guardian of the castle baritone Raniero Remorini
Carlotta, his sister mezzo-soprano Agnese Loiselet
Ormondo bass Cristoforo Bastianelli


Time: The Middle Ages[4]
Place: "In and around the Castle of the Duke of Ordow"[4]

The opera tells the story of the love between the Knight Torvaldo and his wife Dorliska, which is opposed by the terrible and violent Duke of Ordow, who is in love with Dorliska. In order to take her for himself, the Duke tries to kill Torvaldo and, after their fight, leaves him for dead. Making her way to the Duke's castle but not knowing that it is his home, Dorliska is held prisoner, comforted only by Carlotta and her brother Giorgio, the keeper of the castle. After escaping an ambush, Torvaldo enters the castle in disguise, but his identity is inadvertently revealed by Dorliska. The Duke then sentences him to death. Carlotta, Giorgio, and their friends conspire against the Duke to free the couple. Carlotta manages to steal the keys to Torvaldo's prison cell, and Dorliska embraces him again. However, the couple is discovered by the Duke, but before he can kill them, he is interrupted by the crowd entering the castle. The rebellious people capture the Duke and he is led away to prison and to his death. Torvaldo and Dorliska are freed.[5]


Year Cast:
Il Duca d’Ordow,
Giorgio, Carlotta
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [6]
1976 Lella Cuberli,
Pietro Bottazzo,
Siegmund Nimsgern,
Enzo Dara,
Lucia Valentini-Terrani
Alberto Zedda,
Orchestra and choir of Rai di Milano.
1992 Fiorella Pediconi,
Ernesto Palacio,
Stefano Antonucci,
Mauro Buda,
Nicoletta Marani
Massimo de Bernart,
Orchestra and Chorus of RadioTelevisione Svizzera Italiana
and the Gruppo Vocale Cantemus
Audio CD: Arkadia,
Cat: CDAK 123-2;
Cat: AG 073.2
2003 Paola Cigna,
Huw Rhys-Evans,
Michele Bianchini,
Mario Utzeri,
Annarita Gemmabella
Alessandro De Marchi
Czech Chamber Soloists and the ARS Brunensis Chamber Choir
Audio CD: Naxos Records
Cat: 8.660189-90
2006 Darina Takova,
Francesco Meli,
Michele Pertusi,
Bruno Praticò,
Jeannette Fischer
Victor Pablo Pérez,
Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento and the Prague Chamber Chorus
(Audio recording made at performances at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro)
Audio CD: Dynamic
Cat: CDS 528/1-2



  1. Performance history based on Osborne, C. 1994, p. 51
  2. Rossini Opera Festival production details (with production photos)
  3. listing from AmadeusOnline
  4. Osborne, C. 1994, pp. 50–52
  5. Synopsis based in part on Osborne, C. 1994, p. 51
  6. Recordings of Torvaldo e Dorliska on


  • Gossett, Philip; Brauner, Patricia (2001), "Torvaldo e Dorliska" in Holden, Amanda (ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
  • Osborne, Charles (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, London: Methuen; Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0931340713
  • Osborne, Richard (1998), "Torvaldo e Dorliska", in Stanley Sadie (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. xxxx. London: Macmillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
  • Osborne, Richard (1990), Rossini, Ithaca, New York: Northeastern University Press. ISBN 1-55553-088-5
  • Osborne, Richard (1998), "Torvaldo e Dorliska", in Stanley Sadie, (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. XXX. pp. XXX London: Macmillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
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