Gioacchino Rossini's The Turk in Italy is a rollicking comedy about love that involves characters both exotic and idiotic. But the work has a certain surprising subtlety that contrasts with the smash hit comic opera Rossini had composed the year before, in 1813 — The Italian Girl in Algiers. The two titles were so similar that the public assumed Il Turco was just another L'Italiana, and grumbled that they weren't getting their money's worth. But in fact, Rossini gave them a new entity that, unlike its predecessor, went easy on the arias and heavier on more complex ensembles, from duets and trios to quintets. And while The Italian Girl is opera buffo all the way, The Turk is a darker comedy, its characters sometimes teetering on the verge of pitiable. This week, LA Opera presents the company premiere of The Turk, with a world-class cast that includes the magnificent Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze as Donna Florilla, Italian bass-baritone Simone Alberghini as Pasha Selim, Italian baritone Paolo Galvanelli as Don Geronio, British baritone Thomas Allen as Prosdocimo, and American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Zaida. James Conlon conducts; directed by Alex Weidauer. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn; opens Sat., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.; continues Sun., Feb. 27 & March 13, 2 p.m. & Wed., Sat., & Thurs., March 2, 5 & 10, 7:30pm; thru March 13; $20-$270. (213) 972-8001,

Sat., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 27, 2 p.m.; Wed., March 2, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 5, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., March 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 13, 2 p.m., 2011

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