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Thanks to it's overture The Thieving Magpie is one of Rossini's best known operas. In the19th century it was one of the composer's most performed works. And yet for decades after 1883 it was not performed. It was only in the 1930s that interest in this opera was awoken once again. Rossini's 150th birthday in 1942 led to Riccardo Zandonai, the then Director of the Music Conservatory in Pesaro, the birthplace of Rossini, taking on this opera and working on it. The editing process was essentially to shorten a very long opera and to split the content over three rather than two acts. La gazza ladra is principally a crime story. The subject matter of the opera is a robbery that supposedly actually took place in France. We might well have doubts about this because the theme of the innocent, accused, condemned and possibly executed serving girl, is so widely known that it can almost be taken for an urban myth. It is not however simply about a crime. The opera portrays specific details of pre-trial and court proceedings correctly and in exact detail. This makes the original title "Avviso ai giu-dici" (Judges take note) even clearer. Thanks to it's timely reference and precise libretto this opera is by far more realistic, almost naturalistic, than all the other operas from the pen of this composer.