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September 18: Bottesini’s Alì Babà

ASHRAF-SEWAILAM-as-Ali-Baba-photo-by-Lance-Ozier_16-9.png
Ashraf Sewailam as Ali Baba (photo by Lance Ozie)

With a libretto based on “Alì Babà and the Forty Thieves,” the well-known and lively story from One Thousand and One Nights,  Alì Babà was composed by Giovanni Bottesini, an Italian composer and double bass virtuoso, known as the “Paganini of the bass”.

The opera was premiered in 1871 in London, receiving considerable acclaim and numerous performances. However, the score was later lost and the opera has not been heard in well over a century. As with Opera Southwest’s Amleto (Hamlet) project, Maestro Anthony Barrese has reconstructed the score from the composer’s original manuscript. Opera Southwest gave the work its modern American premiere in October 2019.