Anima allegra (‘A Lively Spirit’)
- John C.G. Waterhouse
Opera in three acts by Franco Vittadini to a libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Luigi Motta partly after Serafín and Joaquín Álvarez Quintero’s comedy El genio alegre; Rome, Teatro Costanzi, 15 April 1921.
Vittadini’s biggest operatic success, which was performed in several foreign countries (including the USA) as well as in Italy, is blessed with a libretto of great charm, originally intended for Puccini. The plot centres on the beneficial effect that youthful exuberance can have on older people if only they can be persuaded to open their minds. Donna Sacramento (mezzo-soprano), Marchioness of Arrayanes, has become set in her ways, and her house has become so gloomy and forbidding that her son Pedro (tenor) spends as little time there as possible, preferring to live in Granada. But during one of his brief visits to his mother, his young cousin Consuelo (soprano), whom he has not seen for ten years, turns up unannounced, and her effervescent personality completely transforms the atmosphere of the place: she and Pedro fall in love; Donna Sacramento (after initial resistance) eventually warms to her charms, encouraged by the fact that Pedro no longer wants to keep his distance from the family home; and even the Marchioness’s crusty old administrator Don Eligio (bass) reveals an unsuspected humanity when Consuelo insists on regarding him, too, as a friend....