When Violante is found, she and Belfiore lose their minds and believe themselves to be Greek gods. Together they praise the lovely day, but their happiness is feigned "Che lieto giorno". Nardo is frustrated by Serpetta, who teases him but refuses to respond to his affections. When they are left alone, Don Anchise professes love to Sandrina "Dentro il mio petto". Sandrina refuses his advances as politely as possible and, when Serpetta rudely interrupts, makes her escape.
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She has been stabbed in a fit of jealous rage by her lover, the Count Belfiore, before the opera begins and left for dead.
Fortunately she recovers and, calling herself Sandrina, goes into hiding at the house of the local Mayor. The Mayor immediately falls in love with her, which annoys his servant Serpetta, who is in love with him herself. He is rich, handsome, and called — Belfiore. Muddle Confused? Not surprisingly she and Belfiore go mad half way through the show. Language La finta giardiniera is sung in Italian. You can follow the English translation on a screen above the stage, but knowing a couple of Italian words will come in handy.
The Podesta is called by his title throughout the show, Belfiore is sometimes called Il Conte. The Plot Act I Murder?
The opera starts with the overture. The curtain goes up on a large 18th century room, all windows, mirrors and doors. In the centre of the stage stands a young man with a knife in his hands.
Eventually he manages to climb out of the room. Time passes and the young woman gets up, pulls herself together, and joins the rest of the cast as they enter for the opening number. The opera has begun. However only the Podesta, attracted by the beautiful Sandrina, is really happy; everybody else has something on their mind and they tell us about it in a series of solo lines. Ramiro, a teenager who looks like an 18th century Goth, is particularly gloomy. His heart is broken and, when the Podesta suggests he finds another girl, he breaks into a furious aria.
The last thing he wants is to fall in love again. Sandrina is just as upset and, left alone with Nardo, wonders whether she ought to give up and go home. Suddenly, the sheer difficulty of being a woman overwhelms her. Perhaps women should never be born in the first place? Enter a Diva Fortunately he is only five minutes late and he enters, prepared to be knocked out by her beauty. Meanwhile Serpetta has taken a dislike to Arminda and, rather than be ordered about by her, thinks that marriage might not be such a bad idea.
Collapse Sandrina enters, singing a melancholy aria — she says she feels like a turtle dove deprived of its mate. Sandrina faints. Arminda dashes off for smelling salts, ordering Belfiore to help the girl as she goes. The Finale This discovery brings everyone on stage for the big number that will close Act 1 — the Finale. Sandrina comes to, Ramiro wanders on, and Arminda returns with first aid.
Serpetta, Nardo and the Mayor appear from nowhere and the act ends with everyone bewildered, angry, and singing at the top of their voices.
Act II Temper The next morning everybody is in a vile temper. Arminda realises that Belfiore is desperate to see Sandrina and blasts him with a furious aria as she threatens to punish him.
Charged with Murder Arminda decides to marry Belfiore after all — when Ramiro unexpectedly produces a warrant for the Count for the murder of Violante, the Countess Onesti. Ramiro has just been sent this by a relative in Milan. Meanwhile Belfiore is not getting anywhere with Sandrina, who punishes him by pretending to be Violante one moment and Sandrina the next. Enter the corpse They are interrupted by the Mayor who feels obliged to try Belfiore for murder. Sandrina reveals that she is Violante and after a moment of astonishment everybody withdraws to give Sandrina and the Count a chance to sort things out.
Madness But Sandrina is in no mood for forgiveness. She says she only pretended to be Violante to get him off, and exits — leaving Belfiore on the brink of insanity. Lost in the Dark Meanwhile Sandrina has run away. The Mayor is horrified and orders out a search party.
Sandrina enters, terrified by the dark and imagining all sorts of horrors. The most embarrassing mix-ups happen in the gloom, until Ramiro has the sense to fetch a lantern. As they disentangle themselves, the cast look round for somebody to blame, and turn on Sandrina and the Conte. Their combined fury drives the lovers mad. The Podesta dumps Serpetta, who is so furious that she dumps Nardo. Happiness Meanwhile the lovers have fallen into a deep sleep.
They awake refreshed and sane and decide to forgive each other. Cautiously they re-establish their relationship and the scene ends in a duet in which they leave the set, the stage, and all disguise, to start again in the real world. The rest of the cast forget their own unhappiness as they congratulate Sandrina and Belfiore, and the opera ends more or less happily.
Mozart had been a professional musician since he was six. He and his sister were star performers on the keyboard and spent their childhood touring Europe with their parents.
He was employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg to write church music, rehearse the choir and teach choirboys the keyboard. He wanted to be independent, make money, and write works that suited him.
For Mozart that meant Italian opera. Italian Opera The Italians had invented opera back in and it had swept Europe. Every city had an opera house, just as it had a cathedral, a town hall and a palace. Italian is a particularly good language to sing in and Italian singers were super stars.
More than that, Italian opera was one of the few ways you could make money — real hard cash. That was quite rare in the 18th century, most people were paid with food, lodging, jewelled snuff boxes and IOU notes. So Mozart was bound to be drawn to the theatre but, more than the cash and the glamour, he wanted to compose opera because he loved it.
Mozart turned up before Christmas anxious to meet the singers — the the music he wrote for them would have to fit their voices like a glove.
He and his father travelled through a frozen countryside, in a half open coach with bundles of hay packed round their feet. Even so, young Wolfgang or Wolfie as he was know in the family stayed inside for a few days with a swollen face and toothache. By the time Nannerl his sister arrived, Wolfgang was deep in rehearsals and letters began to fly back and forth from Munich to Mrs Mozart left behind in Salzburg.
No wonder Mozart was pleased. Even so, the show only ran for three nights. Serious opera was basically a string of solo songs, but comic opera which is, more or less, what La finta giardiniera is often had several characters singing at the same time.
However, all opera, whether comic or serious, works in the same way. The plot zips along in recitative link to recit vid and, every now and then, a character interrupts the action to tell the audience exactly how he, or she, feels about life and sings an aria.
Recitative Recitative is the operatic equivalent of ordinary conversation. The characters barely sing, their music follows the patterns of normal speech, and only a couple of instruments accompany them — usually just a harpsichord and a cello. Time stops still for a moment as a character explores their feelings.
An aria is always a solo. Towards the end of the opera, the lovers usually sing a duet together and, at the end of each act, the story requires all the characters to turn up on stage and sing together. Any section written for more than one person is called an ensemble. Ensemble An ensemble is a musical number written for several voices. It might be a duet 2 voices or a trio 3 or a quartet 4 , a quintet 5 , sextet 6 even a septet 7. Sometimes a chorus appears on stage, which can be any number of people and their ensemble is called after them — a chorus.
Mozart wrote ensembles to bring the drama to life. In them the characters interact with the rest of the cast, they annoy each other, scheme, plot, or fall in love. The Orchestra The singers are accompanied by an orchestra: which sits in front and below the stage, tucked just out of sight in the orchestra pit.
Orchestral colour is the distinctive sound made by individual instruments. In this performance of La finta giardiniera the instruments have an 18th century sound: they are replicas of the sort of violins, flutes and trumpets Mozart had in mind when he wrote the opera, and are played by members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Mozart himself would have played the harpsichord in the pit during the first performances of La finta and directed the orchestra — possibly with his hand, more likely with a nod of his head — as he led the recitative. Modern operas are led by a conductor. Singing Opera is about singing. The Italians are very fierce about this, they hate it if an orchestra is so loud it drowns the voices.
Italian audiences were famous for chattering all through opera performances — probably because they went every night and knew the show by heart — but they listened closely when a virtuoso began to sing. People cheer like this in opera houses to this day. High and Low The voices they heard were split into various types. From soprano the highest female voice to bass the lowest male.
As you listen to an opera you get used to the dominant sound. So they preferred the high voice — soprano, alto, mezzo soprano, all the female sounds.
Most of the lovers male and female in an 18th century opera have unbroken voices — though the tenor the highest natural male voice was just beginning to be used for young male characters. Characters Sandrina Sandrina is the heroine of La finta giardiniera. That makes her a soprano.
Libretto: La finta giardiniera
The Set Up
La finta giardiniera