Opera Scotland

Love in a Village

Music

Thomas Arne (born London, 12 March 1710; died London, 5 March 1778)

Text

Isaac Bickerstaff.

Source

The Village Opera (1729) by Charles Johnson.

 

Premieres

First Performance: London (Covent Garden), 8 December 1762.

First Performance in Scotland tbc.

 

Background

One of the most successful of the ballad-operas of this period, Love in a Village has a charmingly naive plot combined with attractive music gathered together by Arne. Only if he couldn't find suitable music ready made, either from his own or another hand, would he take up his pen to compose something new. Thus of 42 musical numbers, only 18 were by Arne, and only five of those were composed specifically for this work.

 

Main Characters

Rosetta, in disguise as a chambermaid (soprano).

Sir William Meadows, a squire.

Young Meadows, his son, disguised as Thomas, a gardener (tenor).

Mr Justice Woodcock, a country magistrate (bass).

Mrs Deborah Woodcock, his wife (mezzo-soprano).

Lucinda Woodcock, their daughter (soprano).

Farmer Hawthorne, a neighbour (tenor).

 

Plot Summary

Rosetta has run away from home, terrified at the pressure being applied for her to marry a man she has never met, the son of an old friend of her father. She enters domestic service in the employ of the Woodcocks. She quickly meets Thomas, a young gardener on the estate, and they fall in love.

Sir William Meadows arrives, having traced his errant son to the Woodcock estate. It turns out that Thomas was, all along, the young man to whom Rosetta had been betrothed - and he had also run away to escape the repugnant forced marriage. All ends happily.

The Cast

Cook Maid
 
Country Girl
 
Countryman
 
Eustace
 
Farmer Hawthorne
 the Justice's neighbour
Footman
 
Hodge
 
Housemaid
 
Justice Woodcock
 
Lucinda Woodcock
 the Justice's daughter
Madge
 
Mrs Deborah Woodcock
 
Rosetta
 disguised as a housemaid
Sir William Meadows
 
Young Meadows
 disguised as Thomas, a gardener

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