Summer Opera

Il mondo alla roversa; or the world topsy-turvy with women in charge

New College Warden’s Garden

8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19 July 2009

Cast List

Aurora – Merryn Gamba
Cintia – Rachel Lindop
Ferromonte – Tom Raskin
Giacinto – Giles Davies
Graziosino – Allan Smith
Rinaldino – Rachel Shannon
Tulia – Kate Semmens

Musical Director: Steven Devine
Director: Michael Burden

For tickets for the following dates, please click to download the order form.

Wednesday 8th July (Preview)
Saturday 11th July
Tuesday 14th July

For other dates please contact:

Fridays 10 & 17
New College Development Office
(01865) 279 337

Sunday 12
The Art Fund
(01491) 641 259

Wednesday 15
Friends of the Oxford Botanic Garden
(01844) 214 468

Saturday 18 & Sunday 19
Friends of the Welsh National Opera
(01865) 865 806

Synopsis:
Il mondo alla roversa is set on an island in the Antipodes, which is governed by a Council of Women. The cast divides into naturally into two groups; the three powerful women who sit on the Council, and their three spineless lovers. The women are worried the men, being physically stronger, will over overpower them; unbeknowest to the women, the men are quite happy in their state of subjection! The women begin to have doubts about this method of governance, and indulge in some constitutional fiddling; they decide to move to a more monarchical system, only to retreat in disarray, when it become clear that none of them will agree to be the subject on any of the others. Enter Ferromonte; he is unwilling to subject himself to the chains of love, and spearheads a plot overturn female rule. The result? All the characters agree that ‘women in command make for a topsy-turvy world’. Needless to say, the plot is complicated by the relationship of the women to their lovers, baroque in style as well as in period!

Il mondo alla roversa premiered in Venice in 1750. The story is by the great Venetian playwright, Carlo Goldoni, and the score by Baldassare Galuppi; they have been credited with ‘inventing’ opera buffa. From the late 1730s, Goldoni worked at ‘reforming’ Italian comedy; his first major play was the 1738 L’uomo di mondo. By 1743, he had perfected his own style of playwriting, one that combined commedia dell’arte elements with direct, sincere dialogue, and middle-class realities; his opera texts called for a smaller amount of dialogue, and a correspondingly increase in the size and number of the musical set pieces. He and Galuppi began working together in 1748, and together they produced more than 20 comic operas, including two of the most successful 18th century comedies, Il filosofo di campagna and La buona figliuola. Il mondo alla roversa was among the more successful products of this partnership, and survives in more manuscript copies than any of his other operas.

Thomas ARNE: ARTAXERXES

2 (Preview), 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 July 2008.

Thomas Arne’s opera Artaxerxes was the surprise hit of 1762. ‘Surprise’, because the English did not like recitative, and the last thing that should have appealed to them was an opera in English based on an Italian libretto by Metastasio. The London public’s initial reception was cool; but after the first season, it was revived, and went on being performed well into the 19th century. It held its popularity was partly because the role of Mandane became – in the hands of two or three great sopranos, such as Elizabeth Billington and Gerturd Mara – a testing ground for new sopranos some of whom made their debut in the role. The piece contains Italian style arias with the greast number of ‘divisions and difficulties which had ever been heard at the opera’. Three of these spectacular display pieces were included in the Proms in 2004.

For tickets for the Preview please download a form here.

For tickets for the 8th of July please download a form here.

Please contact the following numbers for tickets as below:

Fridays 4 and 11 July
Paula Wright
New College Development Office
(01865) 289 096

Saturday 5 July
Beth Hughes
University Alumni Office
(01865) 611 622

Sunday 6 July
Doreen Parker
National Arts Collection Fund
(01491) 641 259

Wednesday 9 July
Sarah Taylor
Friends of the Oxford Botanic Garden
(01844) 214 468

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July
Elaine Ledingham
Friends of the Welsh National Opera
(01865) 865 806