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date: 22 February 2020

Astuzie femminili, Le (‘Female Shrewdness’)locked

  • Gordana Lazarevich

Extract

(‘Female Shrewdness’)

Commedia per musica in two acts by Domenico Cimarosa to a libretto by Giuseppe Palomba ; Naples, Teatro dei Fiorentini, 26 August 1794.

The orphan Bellina (soprano) is the ward of Don Romualdo (bass), an ignorant elderly man who aspires to marry her. He is upset to discover that, according to her father’s will, she will receive a large dowry if she marries Don Gianpaolo Lasagna (bass), an old family friend. When the crude and cowardly Lasagna, who sings exclusively in Neapolitan dialect, comes to claim his bride he is rejected and ridiculed by Bellina. The object of her affections is Filandro (tenor), and for his sake she also rejects Romualdo’s amorous advances. Two other women live in Romualdo’s household: the governess Leonora (soprano), who is anxious to marry Romualdo and is jealous of his attentions toward Bellina; and Bellina’s friend Ersilia (soprano), who is happy with her unmarried status.

Through Leonora’s intrigues, Romualdo, Lasagna and Filandro realize that they are all rivals for Bellina’s hand. Bellina and Filandro attempt to pawn Leonora and Ersilia off on to Lasagna in order to extricate Bellina from her marital obligation to him, and later the couple disguise themselves as Hussars, speaking broken German. They finally succeed in tricking Lasagna and Romualdo into blessing their marriage. After the men’s initial anger at having been duped, the story concludes with a happy ending as Romualdo unites with Leonora and Lasagna with Ersilia....

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