The only opera in history to have been entirely encored at its first performance, The Secret Marriage (Il matrimonio segreto) tells the story of Carolina, secretly married to her father’s secretary Paulino. Her father is trying to marry Carolina’s sister, Elisetta, to one Count Robinson, but his plans have been derailed; the Count only wants to marry Carolina. Meanwhile, Carolina’s and Elisetta’s Aunt Fidalma has fallen in love with Paulino, providing yet another complication… the libretto, by Bertati, is based on an English comedy by George Coleman, and set by Cimarosa, one of the most prolific and capable opera composers of the late 18th century. It was first staged on 7 February 1792.
Conductor: Joseph Beesley Assistant conductor: Toby Stanford Director: Michael Burden
Carolina: Margaret Lingas Elisetta: Emily Brown Gibson Fidalma: Stephanie Franklin Paulino: Richard Douglas Count Robinson: Tom McGowan Geronimo: Chris Murphy
“Brashness and grace vie side-by-side for one evening as New Chamber Opera interpret two pillars of the High Baroque”
J.S. Bach’s virtuosic cantata for solo voice and harpsichord, ‘Amore Traditore’, and Louis Couperin’s magnificent ‘Lecons de Tenebres’ are seemingly at opposite ends of the affective spectrum. Bach’s zany cantata, consisting of 3 explosive movements of musical vitriol against the treachery of love, contrasts deeply with Couperin’s noble lament to a lost Jerusalem. But these two chamber works participate in a tradition of what can be termed as ‘intimate virtuosity’. Both the ‘Lecons’ and ‘Amore Traditore’ are scored simply – for continuo and voice – removing the powerful, connotative force of the orchestra in favour of an intimate grandeur that only continuo harpsichord and its bowed and plucked associates can evoke. The two compositions can be seen as affective complements offering two stunningly different conceptions of intimate lamentation.
The Summer Opera 3 (Preview)/6/9/10/12/13 July 2019
Conductor – Steven Devine; Director – Michael Burden
In a new English translation by Simon Rees
Cast Amarilli – Barbara Cole Walton Dorida – Indyana Schneider Eurilla – Gwendolen Martin Mirtillo – Kate Semmens Silvio – Mark Chambers Trieno – Patrick Keefe
The Evening’s Events 6.00pm: Drink in the Cloisters 6.30pm: Opera Part I, The Warden’s Garden Picnic Interval in the Cloisters (approximately 90 minutes) 9.00pm: Opera Part II, The Warden’s Garden 10.00pm: Curtain
Amarilli, a shepherdess, in love with Mirtillo Dorinda, a shepherdess, in love with Silvio Eurilla, a shepherdess, in love with Mirtillo Mirtillo, a shepherd, in love with Amarilli
Silvio, a hunter, in love with hunting, and eventually, with Dorinda
Tirenio, a High Priest of Diana
Set in Arcadia, the background to the plot of Handel’s pastoral opera Il pastor fido is that Diana, virgin huntress goddess, has become displeased
with Arcadia and has let it be known that only through the marriage of a couple
descended from heavenly ancestors, one of whom will be ‘a faithful shepherd,’
will her wrath be appeased; Silvio and Amarilli are designated the ‘happy
couple,’ to everyone’s consternation. The three shepherdesses spend the
opera pursuing the objects of their desire. Amarilli is in love with Mirtillo
(who loves her in return) but is destined for Silvio. Eurilla is also in love
with Mirtillo (who does not return her love), and tries to undermine Amarilli.
Dorinda in is love with Silvio (who does not return her love until he almost
kills her with a spear while hunting).
The opera was Handel’s second one for London; the first, Rinaldo, had been a brilliant success,
and the audience was taken aback at this short and understated work. It
achieved only a few performances, but it was twice revived in 1734 first with
added choruses, and then with added dances, it was more popular, achieving a
total of some 14 performances. The two versions represent two phases of
Handel’s opera career; the first, his early years in the capital when both he
and Italian opera were still finding their feet in the city, and the second,
his years as an opera promoter, when he faced competition from the Opera of the
Nobility, competition which ultimately damaged the staging of Italian opera in
London. Il pastor fido has been
performed in modern times on numerous occasions, with the 1734 version first
performed in 1948 at Göttingen, and the 1712 version in 1971 in Unicorn
The two works of Mozart on the programme count among the most beloved in the composer’s output. Exsultate Jubilate was composed by Mozart for the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini, who was the primo uomo in Mozart’s opera Lucio Silla in Milan. Mozart composed the motet for Rauzzini, whose technical excellence he admired, and its first performance took place on 17 January 1773, while Rauzzini was still singing in Mozart’s opera at night. The Mass in C Minor, K.427, was composed in Vienna in 1782 and 1783 shortly after he left Salzburg. The work is scored for two sopranos, tenor, bass, and double chorus.
Handel’s comic piece Xerxes of 1738 was one of his last operas; it was also one of his
least successful. The audience didn’t understand his operatic jokes and didn’t
see the funny side of it; even though four of the characters start with
‘A’. Charles Burney later commented: ‘I
have not been able to discover the author of the words of this drama: but it is
one of the worst Handel ever set to Music: for besides feeble writing, there is
a mixture of tragic-comedy and buffoonery in it.’ The buffoonery includes a
collapsing bridge, a warring (potential) couple, a foolish general, a servant
disguised as a flower seller, and a monarch in love with a plane tree. We can
promise you all this, and much more!
Masterclass participants: Alexander Gebhard, Emily Gibson, Patrick Keefe, and Indyana Schneider
Conductor and pianist Jonathon Swinard is the Head of Music at Garsington Opera and the Artistic Director of the Scottish Opera Young Company. He studied at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, where he held the NCO Répétiteur Scholarship, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He began his career at Scottish Opera as the company’s first Emerging Artist Répétiteur and also held the Alexander Gibson Choral Conducting Fellowship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus. From 2014 to 2016 he was Solorepetitor and Kapellmeister at the Staatstheater in Nuremberg where he conducted opera, ballet, and musical theatre. In 2016 he returned to Scottish Opera as Chorus Master and Répétiteur. He studied conducting with Sian Edwards at Dartington and is the Musical Director of the Helensburgh Oratorio Choir.
Jonathon is a long-standing member of Faculty for both the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto and Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and is a visiting vocal coach at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Academy of Music, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is passionate about the training of young voices and is the Artistic Director of the Alvarez Young Artists’ Programme at Garsington Opera.
Musical Director – Anhad Arora
Répétiteur – Joseph Beesley
Director – Michael Burden
Sempronio, an old apothecary – Maximilian Lawrie
Grilletta, Sempronio’s ward – Emily Gibson
Mengone, Sempronio’s apprentice – Jacob Clark
Volpino, a young rich dandy – Indyana Schneider
Haydn’s short comic opera The Apothecary – described as ‘a comedy of great warmth and ebullience’ – was written for performance at Estahazy in 1768. The libretto is by the creator and master of the comic opera libretto, Carlo Goldoni. The story is a love tangle, in which the old Apothecary is in love with his ward Grilletta – but as also is the poor apprentice Mengone, and the rich and assured dandy Volpino. The action twists and turns encompassing a marriage contract, a map of Turkey, and the appearance of Volpino disguised as a Pasha.
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