Opera Scotland

Pietra del paragone 1982Teatro alla Scala, Milan (Piccola Scala)

Read more about the opera Pietra del paragone

This was a rarity completely unknown to most of the Festival audience who attended. Yet it turned out to be a delightful comedy, full of humanity, with sympathetic central roles. Asdrubale, unusually a bass role, was played with a wonderfully light touch by Justino Diaz, and Clarice, a coloratura mezzo part, was given a gentle and attractive reading by the Hungarian Julia Hamari. The self-seeking poet and journalist are treated mercilessly to hilarious effect, and were here played wonderfully by Alessandro Corbelli and Claudio Desderi, both masterful exponents of the buffo repertoire.

The production by the legendary Neapolitan comic Eduardo de Filippo was by no means new, but had been dusted down with great care, and was led by an able young conductor in Roberto Abbado, Claudio's nephew, making his first appearance in Britain.

The visit by the Piccola Scala was brought about by Claudio Abbado at relatively short notice, when a return visit by the Florence company fell through. The intention had been for them to bring a contemporary staging of Macbeth. This delightful discovery, played in rep with two performances of Handel's Ariodante, more than compensated for any disappointment.

The Festival's opera programme

The 1982 Edinburgh Festival had an Italian theme, though the opera programme did not follow this slavishly.  Scottish Opera at least performed  an opera by a composer generally ignored in the past - Puccini - and Manon Lescaut had not been seen in Scotland since Carl Rosa days, nearly thirty years before.

German opera companies had often visited Edinburgh.  However these were generally from the West - Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart or Cologne.   Here,  less than a decade before the seemingly miraculous removal of the Wall,  we had a famous company from the East.   The Dresden State Opera was closely connected with Richard Strauss,  as the launchpad for most of his operas,   If Ariadne auf Naxos was actually premiered elsewhere,  it did at least fit the intimate King's Theatre well, and also linked to the Festival's Italian theme through its commedia element.   German companies also tended to bring a Mozart singspiel,  either Zauberflöte, or, as here, Entführung,

Welsh National Opera's contribution was Handel - the first Scottish performances of Tamerlano.  This tied in very neatly with a second Handel masterpiece,  Ariodante,  that ended the Festival in a lovely production by the Piccola Scala from Milan. They also brought a delightful early Rossini comedy, La pietra del paragone.

Performance Cast

Donna Fulvia a well-connected widow, in pursuit of the Count for his money

Marta Taddei

Baronessa Aspasia a well-connected widow, in pursuit of the Count for his money

Gloria Banditelli

Marchesa Clarice a well-connected widow, genuinely in love with Count Asdrubale

Julia Hamari

Cavaliere Giocondo a Poet and friend to the Count

Paolo Barbacini

Count Asdrubale a wealthy young aristocrat, very distrustful of women

Justino Diaz

Pacuvio a struggling poet, associated with Donna Fulvia

Alessandro Corbelli

Macrobio a journalist and critic, associated with Baroness Aspasia

Claudio Desderi

Fabrizio Count Asdrubale's butler and aide

Armando Ariostini

Performance DatesPietra del paragone 1982

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

4 Sep, 19.30 6 Sep, 19.30 7 Sep, 19.30

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