Vedova scaltra, La (‘The Cunning Widow’)
- John C.G. Waterhouse
(‘The Cunning Widow’)
Comic opera in three acts by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari to a libretto by Mario Ghisalberti after Carlo Goldoni ’s play of the same name (1748); Rome, Teatro Reale dell’Opera, 5 March 1931.
This fourth of Wolf-Ferrari’s five Goldoni operas is based on one of the Venetian playwright’s earlier and slighter plays – a rather simplistic study in contrasted national temperaments, as represented by four rival suitors for the hand of the young widow Rosaura (soprano). Monsieur Le Bleau and the Conte di Bosco Nero (tenors), Milord Runebif and Don Alvaro di Castiglia (baritones) are all supposed to typify the nationalities evident from their names. Rosaura eventually manages to choose between them by disguising herself, in turn, as a lady compatriot of each suitor: catching them at moments when they are off their guard, she tempts all but one of them to prove himself less than wholly committed to her. The lucky exception is the impulsive but fundamentally sincere Italian....