Il matrimonio segreto

The opera buffa by Cimarosa – The eighteenth century puts on a show at the Regio

Teatro Regio, Thursday, 14th March 2013 at 20:00

One of the eighteenth century comic opera masterpieces, Il Matrimonio Segreto by Domenico Cimarosa, will be staged at the Teatro Regio 14th to 24th March in the settings created by Michael Hampe, produced by the Regio in collaboration with the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, which received a standing ovation. The podium of the Teatro Regio will welcome the maestro Francesco Pasqualetti; a young conductor who stands out for his performance in both operatic and symphonic operas.

The original direction is by Michael Hampe, for this edition of the opera the direction is by Vittorio Borrelli. It is an opera that exalts the grace of the eighteenth-century score of Cimarosa, allowing for a plot full of twists that unfolds with ease and clarity. The costumes in beautiful pastel colours, yet playful to a certain degree, are by Martin Rupprecht, the scenes, basic and intelligent, are by Jan Schlubach and lights by Andrea Anfossi.

The 7th February 1792 was an exhausting day for the first interpreters of the Matrimonio Segreto by Cimarosa: the opera debuted at the Burgtheater in Vienna and it seemed that the show should never end; the audience became very enthusiastic, applauding and asking for encores, allowing it to last much longer than expected. Once the singers had left the theatre, they received an invitation for dinner from not less than the Emperor Leopold II himself. Leopold had fallen in love with the opera as soon as he first listened to it and asked the singers to perform it to him all over again, but this time privately. Such dazzling success corresponded to a lasting international fame: the opera was soon set up in the major European theatres as well as round the world and has remained uninterruptedly on the charts.
One of the secrets of the success of this opera lies in the grace with which both composer and librettist were able to give it: it is a romantic comedy that depicts the anxieties and difficulties of two young and unhappy lovers who lived surrounded by gossip, rudeness and selfishness. Although there are elements of caricature (The Viennese aristocratic audiences would have surely laughed at the foolish bourgeois with dreams of nobility), the fundamental element of the play is the positive expression of the ethical values of the time and in particular the ones related to natural feelings supported by Rousseau: in this opera, the characters follow their hearts and not their minds. The same theme had already been brought to the stage many times in France and in England. Its origins can be traced back to a series of paintings by English William Hogarth (Le Mariage à la mode, 1943-45) depicting a tragic story, with a satire touch. In the theatrical versions, such as those of George Colman and David Garrick the Elder, which eventually inspired Bertati, the drama turns to comedy and in the French opéra-comique, it becomes charged with sentimentality.

The librettist, Giovanni Bertati, collects and dissolves these elements in a highly effective text: a mix of wit, tenderness, surprise and satire are carefully balanced to create the ideal space in which the music of Cimarosa can develop. His melodies, genuine and kind, pervade every corner of the play, from an intimate and pathetic tone to a more sparkling one, giving all characters, even the most ridiculous ones, a credible human dimension. The opera is characterized by an expression of simplicity and serenity: this simplicity gives room to melancholy and sadness, because Matrimonio meant perfection, the ancien régime, something that was soon coming to an end.

The opera faithfully meets the expectations of the Viennese public of the late eighteenth century. It is based on a literary source with a cosmopolitan hint, waiving any excess caricature. It is organized in two acts yet leaving a lot of space for the ensembles: there are several duets and trios, a quartet, a quintet and two grand finale. The action takes place in Bologna, in the residence, apparently calm, of the wealthy merchant Geronimo. He dreams of having an aristocratic marriage for both of his daughters but ignores the fact that one of them, the young Carolina, has already secretly married Paolino, the guy who works in the family workshop. To obtain marriage approval from Geronimo, Paolino intends to seek aid from the penniless Earl Robinson, his former master, who is coming to town to ask for the hand of Elisetta, Carolina’s elder sister, in exchange for a generous dowry. Geronimo and Elisetta are enthusiastic about the count’s offer and they envisage a bright future together, but at the man’s arrival the excitement turns into confusion; Robinson falls madly in love with Carolina, refuses Elisetta and, of course, seems disinclined to help Paolino to win the approval of the father-in-law. The situation of the newlyweds complicates even further when Fidalma, a widowed sister of Geronimo, declares her love for Paolino, believing it to be reciprocal. To solve the problems, Carolina and Paolino decide to flee together at night, but at the agreed time, the whole house comes into turmoil. The family members wake up, peek out of their rooms and heated arguments and accusations can be heard until the young couple reveal their secret: Robinson then agrees to marry Elisetta and Geronimo kindly accepts the situation and forgives everyone.

Maestro Francesco Pasqualetti graduated with honours in Philosophy at Pisa and honed his Conducting skills at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Sir Colin Davis and Colin Metters. At the ‘Accademia Musicale Chigiana’ under Gianluigi Gelmetti - where he received the "Diploma of Honours "at the end of his studies - and at the ‘Accademia Musicale di Stresa’ under Gianandrea Noseda. He has recently debuted with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, where he performed Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony, following the invitation of Maestro Noseda. In 2009, the conductor Sir Colin Davis invited him onto the podium of the London Symphony Orchestra for a concert as part of the LSO Discovery Scheme. This summer he will be the assistant and Cover Conductor of the Maestro Noseda at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence for the new production of Rigoletto with the London Symphony Orchestra.

This edition of the Matrimonio Segreto will rely on an all-Italian cast: Carolina will be Barbara Bargnesi, a young Genovese soprano who has been repeatedly applauded at the Teatro Regio. Geronimo will be interpreted by the bass Paolo Bordogna, an interpreter with an astounding voice. The young tenor Emanuele D’Aguanno will be the besotted Paolino; the baritone Roberto de Candia, who interpreted the amazing Figaro last season at the Teatro Regio will be the Count Robinson, Chiara Amarù will play Fidalma and Erika Grimaldi will be Elisetta. The forte-piano Master will be Giulio Laguzzi.

In the course of the seven performances, some leading roles will alternate: Rosa Feola (Carolina) and Matteo Falcier (Paolino).

The production of Il Matrimonio Segreto is supported by Italgas, Supporting Partner of the Teatro Regio.

Il Matrimonio Segreto will be presented to the public by Paolo Gallarati at the Incontro con l’Opera to be held at the Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday 13th March at 17:30.

The premiere night will be broadcast live by Rai-Radio3 on Thursday 14th March at 20:00.

Teatro Regio Box Office: Piazza Castello 215 - Tel 011.8815.241/242 - e-mail: 011.8815.557 and

Torino, 24th January 2013

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