Rauchfangkehrer, Der [Der Rauchfangkehrer, oder Die unentbehrlichen Verräther ihrer Herrschaften aus Eigennutz (‘The Chimney-Sweep, or The Indispensable Betrayers of Their Lordships’ Self-interest’)
- John A. Rice
Musikalisches Lustspiel in three acts by Antonio Salieri to a libretto by Joseph Leopold Auenbrugger ; Vienna, Burgtheater, 30 April 1781.
As the playful subtitle suggests, the opera is in the spirit of those late 18th-century Italian comic operas that deal with conflict between social classes. Volpino (tenor), an Italian chimney-sweep, is engaged to Lisel (soprano), a cook in the house of the young widow Frau von Habicht (soprano). Frau von Habicht and her daughter Nannette (soprano) are the objects of amorous advances by the impoverished noblemen Herr von Bär (bass) and Herr von Wölf (tenor). Volpino puts into action an elaborate trick that promises to result in a dowry for him and Lisel. With his musical skills he charms both mother and daughter into falling in love with him; then to Bär and Wölf he proposes to reject the two women in exchange for a handsome dowry. After a suitable amount of confusion and misunderstanding, his plan is successful and all the principal characters are happily engaged....