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date: 23 January 2020

Amor vuol sofferenza (‘Love Demands Pain’) [La frascatana (‘The Woman from Frascati’); Il cioè (‘Mr That-is-to-Say’)]locked

  • Graham Hardie

Extract

(‘Love Demands Pain’) [La frascatana (‘The Woman from Frascati’); Il cioè (‘Mr That-is-to-Say’)]

Commedia per musica in three acts by Leonardo Leo to a libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico; Naples, Teatro Nuovo, autumn 1739.

Amor vuol sofferenza is one of the finest surviving examples of the Neapolitan dialect comedy tradition, with the librettist at pains to ensure cohesion between the seria and buffa characters by a complex web of relationships. The three buffa characters recall masks from the commedia dell’arte: Mosca (bass), the scheming coachman, as Brighella, out to fleece a rich foreigner; Fazio Tonti (bass), the rich, gullible Lucchese, as Pantaloon the dupe; and Vastarella (soprano), the baker, as the flirtatious and streetwise soubrette. Typical of this genre, the comicality depends on intrigue and misunderstanding, on characterization in the buffa parts, and on spoofs of the opera seria, including incongruous use of Metastasian clichés. The music is in the galant style; the buffa arias draw, for their characterization, on techniques explored typically in the contemporary intermezzos. The ...

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