Donizetti: Rita, Ou Le Mari Battu / Scimone, Opera Royal De Wallonie
The thorny subject of marital violence is set against a hilarious backdrop in this one-act farce where, contrary to what we are used to seeing in opera, tenor and baritone do their best to free themselves of the female protagonist, to whom both are married. No doubt, Gaspar's aria on the joys of chastising one's wife in the way she deserves causes a few raised eyebrows nowadays, but the funny side is genuine and the music brilliant, making of this forgotten little opera a true gem. Donizetti composed Rita, ou Le mari battu, which would be staged posthumously at the Opera-comique on 7th May 1860, with Caroline Lefebvre as protagonist. The concise story of the waspish innkeeper Rita, her husband Peppe and first husband Gaspare, the latter believed dead in a shipwreck, unrolls in a single act, effectively divided into eight closed numbers: one aria for each singer, three duets, one trio and the finale. The apex of this delightful divertissement, both from the point of view of the action and the music, is the duet where the two men rival each other, albeit in a way that is diametrically opposed to what we are used to seeing on an operatic stage: instead of contending for the female protagonist, like all respectable tenors and baritones in love, they gamble her away, both desperately trying to lose. The writing is that of a consummate composer, flowing and refined. Characters are portrayed with terse effectiveness, situations never trespass into the grotesque. The result is a perfect balance of all elements, which makes of Rita a small but significant example of Donizetti's musical experience in the 1840s, an experience that can truly be called European.
Featuring: Conductor: Claudio Scimone Orchestre de l'Opera de Wallonie Stage Director: Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera Scenes: Jean-Guy Lecat Costume Designer: Fernand Ruiz Choreographer: Antonaeta Alexieva Rita - Priscille Laplace Peppe - Aldo Caputo Gaspar - Alberto Rinaldi Opera Royal de Wallonie, 2010
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Conductor: Claudio Scimone
Orchestra/Ensemble: Wallonie Royal Opera Orchestra
Performer: Alberto Rinaldi, Aldo Caputo, Pricille Laplace
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