Foregrounds and backgrounds VII

From Klopstock to Goethe, from Stendhal, to George Sand, the lake represents a place reach in charm: maternal thumb, or entrance to kingdom of the dead (the Avernus lake of Romans). The Britons ancient legends among the Lancelot childhood contain the roots on which are construct both La donna del lago’s and La Straniera’s plots, respectively by Rossini and Bellini. Landscapes showing water images are recurrent in Rossini’s opera in the double shape of sea and fresh water.
Nearby to geographical correct and exact representation of Kathrine lake in La donna del lago, in others works we can see the water flowing vitality, its foaming in torrents and streams to change in a masse of energy, ready to overflow all that it founds long its way; a nature primitive strength, favourite in preromantical aesthetic of sublime and horrid. By a comical or parodistic point of view, this interpretation is employed by Rossini in Matilde di Shabran’s end, when Corradino, repented for turning Matilde out of the home, and having ordered to kill her, he threats the suicide in a torrent’s precipice.
Element of exuberant nature, together the vegetation, water becomes a cardinal image in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell. Realistical sign of Swiss landscape, it evokes the concept of connection, of link, of interconnetion: in the oath’s scene (II Act) is defined by the main character as the “chemin qui ne trahit pas”1. is the element warranting freedom. In Schachental torrent, Tell safes Leutholdo from the Austrians; nearby the Achsenberg the lake joins the inhabitants of its different sides and it is the place where the opera ends. This lake appears in two very important scenes. The first time is presented view by above and faraway, as a background in the Second Act, where is set the oath’s scene. The second time it appears in the last scene of the last act, and it gains the foreground, like a visual translation of the appropriation made by Suiss towards their land. Guillaume, thanks to his ability in shipping in the middle of the storm too (methaphorical significance is evident) impresses a resolutive issue at the events. He tames the elements with his experience in a familiar environment, with his respectful familiarity and trust in the Nature so he succeeds in killing the tyrant. Thus by the sides of the calmed down lake the opera ends.

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