Christian Räth

Portland Opera’s ‘Italian Girl’: Topsy turvy playground

Wacky production gives Rossini’s bubbly East-West comic tale contemporary appeal


Pizza, bathing suits, peeping-Tom camels, selfie-sticks, a chorus dressed in modest underwear and a ruler in a loin cloth were among wacky details in Portland Opera’s The Italian Girl in Algiers (L’Italiana in Algeri) at its July 22 premiere in Portland’s Newmark Theatre.

Aleksandra Romano stars as Isabella in Portland Opera's 'The Italian Girl in Algiers.' Photo: James Daniel.

Aleksandra Romano stars as Isabella in Portland Opera’s ‘The Italian Girl in Algiers.’ Photo: James Daniel.

These contemporary comic touches enlivened Gioachino Rossini’s silly laugh-happy story about a kidnapped Italian tourist who turns the tables on her bombastic bejeweled captor, Mustafa, the harem-holding head honcho of Algiers. This production’s direction, set, timing, choreography and acting combined to make this Italian Girl so appealing, so au courant, so unstuffy.


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