Overture from the Opera "La Gazza Ladra"

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Gioacchino Rossini

Gioacchino Rossini (tr. and ed. Oliver)

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La Gazza Ladra translates from the Italian as "The Thieving Magpie."

General Info

Year: 1817
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ayotte Custom Musical Engravings
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $78.99; (digital) - $71.99   |   Score Only (print) - $13.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) was first produced in Milan on May 31, 1817. Rossini wrote it to woo back the Milanese public, which had recently rejected two of his operas. To do this, he decided to blend all the elements opera lovers favored into one work, combining comedy and tragedy, gaiety and sentimentality, powerful drama and lightness of mood.

The plot tells of Ninetta, a servant girl, who is falsely accused of stealing a silver spoon. She is unable to plead innocence, for to do so would have incriminated her father, an army deserter. In the end, the discovery is made that the spoon was stolen and secreted by a pet magpie. Ninneta is exonerated. She can now pursue her love affair with her beloved Fernando.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) is a melodrama or opera semiseria in two acts by Gioachino Rossini, with a libretto by Giovanni Gherardini based on La pie voleuse by Théodore Baudouin d'Aubigny and Louis-Charles Caigniez.

The composer Giaochino Rossini wrote quickly, and La gazza ladra was no exception. According to legend, before the first performance of the opera, the producer assured the composition of the overture by locking Rossini in a room, from the window of which the composer threw out the sheets of music to the copyists who then wrote the orchestral parts, to complete the composition of the opera. As such, The Thieving Magpie is best known for the overture, which is musically notable for its use of snare drums. The unique inspiration in the melodies is extreme, famously used to bizarre and dramatic effect in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It was referenced by Haruki Murakami in his work The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle at the very beginning of the book. This memorable section in Rossini's overture evokes the image of the opera's main subject: a devilishly clever, thieving magpie.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

The overture to The Thieving Magpie begins in a military manner with two rolls on the snare drum/ The full band loudly presents the main melody, a vigorous march, which is worked out briefly. Drum rolls, a brief crescendo, and five chords end this part of the overture. The allegro section contains two basic melodies: a glistening and delicate theme for the clarinets and a piquant subject shared by the entire woodwind section. As with other Rossini overtures, an exciting culmination is realized with the crescendo.

- Program Note from Program Notes for band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Manhattan Wind Ensemble (New York, N.Y.) (Sarah Fernandez, conductor) - 4 June 2022
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Terence Milligan, conductor) – 1 March 2017
  • Vassar College and Community Wind Ensemble (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) (James Osborn, conductor) – 26 February 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

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