06.07.13 From 3pm, Opera Hall, Woodhouse, Woodhouse Copse, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey RH5 6NL; £40
Baroque Double Bill: Livietta e Tracollo by G. Pergolesi and La Dirindina by D. Scarlatti
Comical Operas from the 18th Century. All operas with picnic intervals. Fully staged in period costumes, baroque ensemble and partly by candlelight, authentic and atmospheric.
Gardens open from 3pm
Livietta e Tracollo
The Intermezzi (interludes) presented here were premiered in combination with Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s opera “Adriano in Siria” on the occasion of the festivities for the birthday of Queen Elizabeth of Spain in 1734 at the Teatro San Bartolo in Naples.
As was customary, the first intermezzo was given after the first act and the second intermezzo after the second act of the opera. The intermezzi had no connection with the plot of the opera seria, nor did the same singers perform.
Dressed as a French peasant boy, Livietta, with her friend Fluvia, plans to lure Tracollo into a trap and punish him because he has robbed Livietta’s brother and almost killed him. As Tracollo and his servant Faccenda, disguised as a pregnant Polish woman and a beggar, approach the women, Livietta pretends to be just waking up. She catches Tracollo trying to steal Fulvia’s jewelry. Livietta reveals herself and is determined to have Tracollo arrested, whereupon he pleads for mercy. He attempts to calm Livietta down and promises to marry her. Although this is Livietta’s greatest wish, she turns him down. Tracollo has disguised himself as an astrologer and pretends to be deranged in order to soften Livietta’s heart after all. To test his supposed unsoundness of mind, Livietta acts the part of one who will soon die. Tracollo proves to be very concerned at this new set of circumstances; he stirs Livietta in such a way, that she leaves off all deception. Both swear to marry, swear eternal love and faithfulness.
“Livietta and Tracollo” counts among the most popular intermezzi of the 18th century and was performed on numerous Italian stages and in other European countries for over 20 years.
Livietta: Stevie Jennings-Adams
Tracollo: Tim Elliot
The story of La Dirindina concerns a wily but gifted young singer, Dirindina, and her teacher Don Carissimo, whose interest in his pupil is more than a little untoward. Dirindinaâ€™s independent spirit and her ability to sing (when she wants to) annoy Don Carissimo, who is further vexed by the appearance of Liscione, a famous castrato who brings some surprising news: the Milan theatre wants to engage Dirindina as its prima donna. Don Carissimo flies into a rage, stammering his way through a highly amusing and forward-looking aria, only to see that his pretty pupil is now flirting openly with the castrato.
Part II opens with the unctuous Liscione plying Dirindina with a little minuet, which manages simultaneously to flatter the young singerâ€™s ego while lampooning the fashionable but shamelessly sentimental manners of the aristocracy. Dirindina responds with perhaps the oddest aria in the work, full of syncopations and serpentine melodies that cheekily invoke various bodily fluids, with which she promises to seduce the Milanese public. The ensuing “play within a play”, a mock enactment of the tragic Didoâ€™s rejection of the feckless Aeneas, is witnessed by Don Carissimo, who fails to get the joke and thinks that his ward is not only with child but ready to commit suicide. As with all good comedies, the jokeâ€™s on him: the finale is both outrageous and touching, as the capon and the hen are joined in hand by a thoroughly deceived old man.
La Dirindina: Angela Simkin
Liscione: Tai Oney
Don Carissimo: David Sean Fearn