Mirandolina

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For the play by Carlo Goldoni, see The Mistress of the Inn.

Mirandolina (H. 346) is a comic opera in three acts by Bohuslav Martinů, with a libretto (in Italian) by the composer after Carlo Goldoni's 1751 comedy La locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn). Salieri had an opera (dramma giocoso) on the same subject premiered at the Vienna Kärtnertortheater in 1773.

The opera was written in 1953-4. It incorporates in places stretches of spoken dialogue between the characters, against an orchestral background. The opera was premiered on 17 May 1959 at the Prague National Theatre, Czechoslovakia (shortly before the composer's death), when it was conducted by Václav Kašlik.

David Pountney has described the opera as "the work where Martinů's strain of fast-moving, neo-Classical style comes into its own... finding room for witty and ironic musical references to Italian madrigals, French vaudeville and Italian opera buffa".[1] Martinů's biographer Brian Large noted several highlights from the score: a coloratura aria in Act 1 Scene 6 for Mirandolina as well as waltzes, intermezzos and a saltarello,[2] the latter having been recorded in 1973 by the Czech State Philharmonic Orchestra Brno conducted by František Jílek.

Performance history[edit]

The first production of Mirandolina remained in the stage repertoire at the Prague National Theatre until 1963 and the opera was revived there in 1980-82.[3] It was staged as part of the Wexford Festival in 2002 with Daniela Bruera in the title role conducted by Riccardo Frizza, the performance eventually being issued on CD.

The UK premiere was given by Garsington Opera in 2009 with Juanita Lascarro in the title role, and conducted by Martin André.[4]

In 2013-14 Mirandolina was seen in Ostrava, at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, then the German premiere of the original Italian version was given in March 2014 at Stadttheater Giessen conducted by Michael Hofstetter; the Bavarian State Opera's Opernstudio performed the work in April 2014 conducted by Alexander Prior and directed by Christian Stückl, and in June it was staged in Bratislava, at the Slovak National Theatre.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast[3]
17 May 1959
(Conductor: Václav Kašlík)
Mirandolina, an inn-keeper soprano Maria Tauberová
Ortensia, an actress soprano Jaroslava Procházková
Dejanira, an actress contralto Štěpánka Štěpánová
Conte d'Albafloria tenor Oldřich Kovář
Cavaliere di Ripafratta bass Přemysl Kočí
Marchese di Forlimpopoli bass Jaroslav Horáček
Fabrizio, a waiter tenor Ivo Žídek

Synopsis[edit]

Mirandolina the inn-keeper is courted by various noblemen at her house in Florence. Two of them try to vie with each other to seduce her, declaring that they are passionately in love with her, but having enchanted them she drops them. Another admirer is the sardonic misogynist Ripafratta whom she sees as a challenge to win.

Mirandolina therefore decides to lure the Cavaliere and seduce him. She sets out the tricks she is playing with Forlimpopoli and Albafiorita, and tries to use flattery and charm to gull Ripafratta. He however, becomes serious, playing on his rank and flushed with his first real love, and is furious when Mirandolina rejects him. Two elderly actresses, Ortensia and Dejanira pretend in vain that they are not upper class.

Mirandolina had all along been keen on her faithful waiter Fabrizio and ends up marrying him, having tested his fidelity, as a protection against the livid Ripafratta.

Recording[edit]

The 2002 Wexford production was recorded by the BBC and published on CD in 2004 by Supraphon; with the Belarus National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Frizza.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ 'David Pountney. In the Key of Dreams. Opera, Vol 60 No 6, June 2009, p660.
  2. ^ Large, Brian. Martinů. Duckworth, London, 1975, p108.
  3. ^ a b Page showing production details of Mirandolina at the Národního divadla archives site accessed 3 January 2015.
  4. ^ Financial Times report on the UK premiere of Mirandolina. accessed 6 January 2015.
Sources