La finta giardiniera
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91)
Sung in Italian, with English side-titles
About the show
Written by Mozart at the age of 17, La finta giardiniera combines comedy and high drama in a tale of violent passions and reunited love.
Mozart’s lively opera combines the commedia dell’arte influences of Carlo Goldoni with dramatic introspection, depicting relationships across the class divide in a foreshadowing of later, better known successes such as Cosí fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro.
There will be a pre-opera talk at 6.15pm in the Pavilion Arts Centre before each evening performance.
The action takes place over one day, at the home of Don Anchise
One night a year ago, provoked by groundless jealousy, Belfiore violently attacked his lover Violante. Believing he had inadvertently killed her, he fled the scene, not knowing that Violante was in fact only injured. Together with her trusted servant, Roberto, she decided to disappear, to consider how best to take revenge on her lover for his action. Under the assumed names of Sandrina and Nardo, the two are currently working, unknown, at the home of Don Anchise.
Don Anchise’s niece is to be married from her uncle’s house, and final arrangements for the wedding are underway. Violante and Roberto are helping the housekeeper, Serpetta, with the preparations while Don Anchise and his friend, Ramiro, look on. Only Don Anchise, in love with ‘Sandrina’, is truly happy. Ramiro is bitter because his fiancée has left him, Violante is disturbed by Don Anchise’s affection for her, Roberto is frustrated by Serpetta’s indifference towards him, and, wanting her employer herself, Serpetta is angry that she has a new rival.
Alone with Roberto, Violante explains how troubled she is by Don Anchise’s love, and suggests that they leave his house. Roberto advises her to pretend to return Don Anchise’s affections, but she is anxious at the thought of doing so.
Arminda, Don Anchise’s niece, arrives, shortly followed by her fiancé. Arminda notices his roving eye and warns him what will happen if he is unfaithful.
In conversation with Violante, Arminda mentions that her fiancé is Belfiore; hearing that her lover is to be married, Violante promptly faints from shock. Called to help, Belfiore is bewildered to discover that the unconscious woman is the double of the lover he believed dead. Violante revives and, as Belfiore tries to work out if it is really her, Ramiro encounters Arminda; she is the woman who abandoned him, and each is astonished to discover the other at Don Anchise’s house. Serpetta tries to convince Don Anchise that ‘Sandrina’ is in love with Belfiore, but Roberto contradicts her. Violante appears to be on the verge of revealing her true identity, but then denies it.
Ramiro promises revenge on Arminda for her inconstancy, before she, in turn, accuses Belfiore of infidelity with ‘Sandrina’.
Belfiore encounters the mysterious woman again, and is convinced she is Violante. She once again denies it, but Belfiore is entranced. He begs her to look kindly on him and she seems to be softening, when they are discovered by Don Anchise. Belfiore runs off, leaving Violante to placate Don Anchise’s anger with feigned flattery.
Ramiro smugly brings news that Belfiore is wanted for the murder of the Marchesa Violante. Arminda is horrified, and begs her uncle to save her fiancé. Don Anchise questions Belfiore, who inadvertently implicates himself. Before any action can be taken, ‘Sandrina’ appears and declares that the Marchesa is not dead, and that she herself is Violante. Belfiore is delighted but, as the others leave in confusion, she denies it for a third time, claiming to have pretended to be Violante only to exonerate him. Belfiore feels he is losing his mind.
Serpetta brings news that ‘Sandrina’ has run away, and Don Anchise immediately organises a search party. In fact, she has been abducted by Arminda, and misunderstandings arise as the household looks for her in the darkness. Accusations are thrown until Belfiore and Violante, overwhelmed, lose their senses.
Arminda demands that her uncle must force Belfiore to marry her, while Ramiro insists that Don Anchise should order Arminda to honour her original promise. Still raving, Violante and Belfiore pursue Roberto. He manages to distract them, and makes his escape. Ramiro tries again to arouse Arminda’s love. She rejects him once more, and he swears to make her suffer.
Violante and Belfiore awake from a deep sleep, restored to sound mind. Violante confesses her identity at last. Neither is able to leave the other, and the two are reconciled. Arminda returns to Ramiro, and Serpetta accepts Roberto.
The Marchesa Violante, under the name of Sandrina – Ellie Laugharne
The Contino Belfiore – Andrew Kennedy
Don Anchise, the mayor – Christopher Lemmings
Arminda, Don Anchise’s niece – Stephanie Corley
Ramiro, a friend of Don Anchise – Catherine Carby
Serpetta, Don Anchise’s housekeeper – Anna Patalong
Roberto, Violante’s servant under the name of Nardo – Matthew Hargreaves
Northern Chamber Orchestra
Violin I - Nicholas Ward, David Routledge, Sarah Whittingham, Paula Smart, Karen Mainwaring, Deidre Ward
Violin II - Simon Gilks, Rebecca Thompson, Sarah White, Catherine Studman, Shirley Richards
Viola - Mike Dale, Raymond Lester, Jacq Anthony, Daniel Sanxis
Cello - Jeanette Lander, Barbara Grunthal, Amanda Turner
Double Bass - Jamie Manson, Sian Holland
Flute - Conrad Marshall, Nichola Hunter
Oboe - Christine Swain, Jane Evans
Clarinet - Elizabeth Jordan, Daniel Bayley
Bassoon - Simon Davies, Rachel Whibley
Horn - Naomi Atherton, Diane Harper, Jenny Cox, Peter Richards
Trumpet - Tracey Redfern, Helen Quayle
Trombone - Tim Chatterton, Jonathan Parkes, Les Storey
Timpani - John Melbourne
Percussion - Joy Powdrill