In one part of downtown Milan last night, people were falling out of their seats and tearing out their hair in utter boredom. And we're not talking about a lecture on Biochemistry Engineering at Università Bocconi. Rather, we're talking about Teatro alla Scala's open rehearsal of Ildebrando Pizzetti's Assassinio nella Cattedrale (it opens this coming Friday, and OC heard that it was an absolute snooze-fest). As an antidote, there was something rather unique happening just a few blocks away at Milan's Conservatorio G. Verdi, as Società del Quartetto presented a concert version of F.J. Haydn's burletta per musica, L'infedeltà delusa, an endearing & quick opera-lite in two acts for 5 soloists and a small orchestra.
OC chose wisely the latter of the two events, and can report an evening of much needed Haydn opera love.
Haydn's rather obscure opera -- scored to Marco Coltellini's libretto for the Eszterházy court where Haydn was biding his time as composer, and whose royal family, namesake of the tasty dessert, the work was written for -- was premiered in July 1773 and was only heard on three occasions during Haydn's lifetime. It was written for a party in the royal Eszterházy palace to honor the saint day of the princess Maria Anna Luisa, widow of Paul II Anton.
While the recitative is full of snappy, witty retorts, the arias instead are sumptuous, descriptive, gorgeously harmonic, and gallop the plot throughout Haydn's theatrical narrative. This is the inception of opera buffa and undoubtedly paved the way for the later genre, and the framework of Rossini's patented convergences.
There's a harmonic purity throughout the opera, scored in a major key (with just one aria in a minor key). The arias are well-distributed (with the exception of Vespina's) between the five singers, and the opera is an absolutely fluid, organic work where the language of the music forms the traditional narrative we're already accustomed to in Italian opera buffa.
Clicky the linky to read the review and to see cast photos!