Ajo nell’imbarazzo, L’ (‘The Tutor in a Jam’)
- William Ashbrook
(‘The Tutor in a Jam’)
Melodramma giocoso in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Jacopo Ferretti after Giovanni Giraud’s L’ajo nell’imbarazzo (1807, Rome); Rome, Teatro Valle, 4 February 1824 (revised as Don Gregorio, Naples, Teatro Nuovo, 11 June 1826).
This was the first sustained success of Donizetti’s career. A father, Marchese Giulio (baritone), having been maltreated by a woman, insists that his two sons grow up without knowing any females. Their tutor, Don Gregorio (buffo bass), vainly tries to persuade the boys to follow this edict. The elder, Enrico (tenor), however, secretly married to Gilda (soprano) for a year, has fathered a son; the younger, Pipetto (tenor), is smitten by an aged serving-woman, Leonarda (mezzo-soprano). Anxious to acknowledge his bride, Enrico tries to enlist Don Gregorio’s help, producing Gilda and the baby to strengthen his arguments. Returning home inopportunely, the Marchese learns the truth about his sons, and sings a scena and aria expressing his fury and his sorrow. Hearing his decision to disinherit Enrico in favour of Pipetto, Gilda threatens to kill herself and the baby. The Marchese relents, acknowledges Enrico’s marriage and, dismissing Leonarda, sends Pipetto off on a tour of Europe....