Opera Scotland

Inganno felice L'inganno felice; The Happy Deception

Music

Gioachino Rossini (born Pesaro, 29 February 1792; died Paris, 13 November 1868)

Text

Giuseppe Foppa

Source

Libretto (1798) by Giuseppe Palomba (composed by Paisiello)

 

Premieres

First Performance:  Venice (Teatro San Moisè), 8 January 1812.

First Performance in UK: London (King's Theatre, Haymarket), 1 July 1819.

First Performance in Scotland: Glasgow (Centre for Contemporary Arts), 15 July 2015.

 

Background

In spite of its brevity (not much over an hour, L'inganno felice was Rossini's first big international success, and it quickly spread across Europe.

It is invariably grouped among the five early one-act farces composed for Venice. However to describe it as a farce is scarcely accurate. Like the much later, and longer Thieving Magpie, it is a semi-seria work - a piece with a happy ending, but much misfortune befalling our heroine, and a more serious outcome never far away. However the comic elements are provided by the conspirators and the benevolent figure of the miner Tarabotto.

 

Characters

Duke Bertrando (tenor)

Isabella, his wife (soprano)

Ormondo, follower of the Duke (bass)

Batone, Ormondo's henchman (bass)

Tarabotto, leader of a mining community (bass)

 

Plot summary

A decade before the action of the opera, Isabella was lusted after by Ormondo, but she rejected his advances. In revenge, he convinced Duke Bertarido, that his wife had been unfaithful. Batone having been ordered to abduct her, she was set adrift at sea in a small boat. The three men all believe her to have died, but her boat was washed ashore. Rescued by Tarabotto, leader of the local iron-ore miners, she is accepted into their community, and lives there without divulging her true identity.

The opera begins as word reaches the village that the Duke is on a tour of the region, and will visit the mines. Isabella reveals her identity to Tarabotto, who joins in her scheme to win back the Duke's love. When the Ducal party appear, she is introduced as Tarabotto's niece. Her resemblance to the 'late' duchess does not go unnoticed, and Ormondo again orders Batone to dispose of this inconvenient woman. With the help of the miners the plot is foiled, Ormondo treachery is exposed, and Isabella is restored to her rightful place by a delighted husband.

The Cast

Batone
 Ormondo's henchman
Duke Bertrando
 Isabella's husband
Isabella
 a Duchess, living in disguise among the miners
Ormondo
 a follower of the Duke
Tarabotto
 leader of a community of iron-ore miners

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