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date: 15 November 2019

Sposi malcontenti, Gli (‘The Discontented Newly-Weds’)locked

  • Richard Platt

Extract

(‘The Discontented Newly-Weds’)

Opera buffa in two acts by Stephen Storace to a libretto by Gaetano Brunati; Vienna, Burgtheater, 1 June 1785.

In spring 1783 the Austrian emperor Joseph II had disbanded his German opera ensemble and established an Italian opera group. Nancy Storace was engaged from Italy as prima buffa, and became a great favourite of the Emperor. It was probably due to her influence that her brother, a young man of 23 with no previous experience of writing for the stage, was commissioned to write an opera. In addition to Nancy Storace as Eginia (soprano), the singers at the first performance included Michael Kelly as Valente (tenor), Vincenzo Calvesi as Casimiro (tenor), Stefano Mandini as Artidoro (baritone), Francesco Benucci as Rosmondo (bass), Catarina Cavalieri as Enrichetta (soprano) and Therese Teyber as Bettina (soprano).

The scene is 18th-century Genoa. Eginia has married Casimiro at her father’s wish, but feels unable to love him. Valente, a middle-aged scholar, is angered at being rejected by Casimiro’s sister Enrichetta, who loves Artidoro, a previous suitor of Eginia, and he plans to revenge himself by spreading the rumour that Artidoro and Eginia are having an affair. Since Artidoro is in fact trying to elope with Enrichetta, he easily raises the suspicions of Casimiro and his domineering father, Rosmondo. The maidservant, Bettina, pretends to help Valente, but actually tells his plans to Artidoro, who arranges for Casimiro and Rosmondo to be in the garden that night so that Valente can be unmasked. It then becomes clear who has been causing all the trouble. Eginia’s innocence and honour are vindicated, Artidoro can marry Enrichetta and even Valente is forgiven. Although anticipations of ...

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