Villanella rapita, La (‘The Abducted Country Girl’)
- Marita P. McClymonds
Opera giocosa in two acts by Francesco Bianchi to libretto by Giovanni Bertati ; Venice, Teatro S Moisè, autumn 1783.
In the introduzione Biaggio oversees the wedding banquet his two daughters Ninetta and Giannina are preparing for their sister Mandina and her bridegroom Pippo. The Count, enamoured of the young bride, arrives with his friend Paulino. The Count offers ‘out of fondness’ to make the young girl’s fortune. Pippo is suspicious, but Biaggio insists the Count means no harm. When Mandina agrees to live with him in the city, the Count gives her a purse of money. Having overheard the Count’s dishonourable plan, Pippo confronts him in a trio with Biaggio. During the finale of Act 1 the Count drugs the wine and departs into the night with Mandina. It is clear the next morning that she has been abducted, and Biaggio resolves to go to the Count’s palace and bring her back. Meanwhile Mandina, though thrilled with her beautiful new clothes, tells the Count that she loves only Pippo and wishes to return to him and to her father. When Pippo and Biaggio arrive they assume that her new clothing is a sign of her disgrace and reject her pleas in a trio, which becomes a quartet when the Count enters. But Mandina returns to her peasant dress and succeeds in convincing Pippo of her innocence. In the finale her family welcomes her back in the village; the Count appears to reclaim her, but is confounded to learn that she has already married Pippo....