Crispino e la comare

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Crispino e la comare (The Cobbler and the Fairy) is an opera written collaboratively by Luigi Ricci and Federico Ricci with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave.

Performance history[edit]

The premiere took place on 28 February 1850 at the Teatro San Benedetto in Venice.

The work was very popular during the 19th century, and was an especial favourite of touring Italian companies in the Americas, and in the Asia-Pacific region generally.

It had its London premiere on 17 November 1857 at St James's Theatre. It was first performed in Paris on 4 April 1865 in Italian by the Théâtre Italien and was given on 18 September 1869 as Le Docteur Crispin, a French translation by Charles Nuitter and Beaumont, at the Théâtre de l'Athénée on the rue Scribe.[1] Its Calcutta premiere was in 1867 at the Calcutta Opera House[2] and its Australian premiere on 11 August 1871 at the Princess's Theatre, Melbourne.[3]

While rarely performed in the 20th and 21st centuries, the Festival della Valle d'Itria in Martina Franca, Italy staged the work as part of its 39th festival in July/August 2013. Bass-baritone Domenico Colaianni sang Crispino, while the role of Annetta was taken by Stefania Bonfadelli.[4]


Role Voice type Premiere cast[5]
28 February 1850
(Conductor: - )
Crispino Tachetto, the cobbler bass Carlo Cambiaggio
Fabrizio, a doctor baritone Luigi Rinaldini
Mirabolano, a doctor and apothecary bass Luigi Ciardi
Contino del Fioro, a Tuscan nobleman tenor Giuseppe Pasi
Don Asdrubale di Caparotta, a Sicilian miser bass Angelo Guglielmini
Bortolo, a mason tenor
Annetta, Crispino's wife soprano Giovannina Pecorini
Lisetta mezzo-soprano Paolina Prinetti
La Comare, the fairy mezzo-soprano Giovannina Bordoni


Place: Venice
Time: the 17th century

Crispino is a poor cobbler who cannot make ends meet. He is helped by a fairy who encourages him to start practicing medicine, though he cannot even read. He is successful with the fairy’s help but cannot bear prosperity gracefully and mistreats his wife. The fairy makes him aware of his faults and the cobbler’s family is happily reunited.


  • 1938: An Italian film based on the opera was directed by Vincenzo Sorelli
  • 1974: Complete recording, RAI orchestra & chorus, conductor Marco della Chiesa ; Mario Chiappi (Crispino), Emilia Raveglia (Annetta), Luisella Ciaffi-Ricagno, Gianfranco Pastine, Alesandro Corbelli & Angelo Nostri. MRF Records, private edition.
  • 1994: A complete recording was made by the San Remo Symphonic Orchestra.
  • 2015: A DVD recorded live at the 2013 Festival della Valle d'Itria was released by Dynamic with Domenico Colaianni as Crispino and Stefania Bonfadelli as Annetta; Chorus of the Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari; Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Jader Bignamini (conductor)


  1. ^ Loewenberg 1978, column 879; Lecomte 1912, p. 99.
  2. ^ Esmeralda Rocha, Opera in Calcutta 1833-1900
  3. ^ Eric Irvin, Dictionary of the Australian Theatre 1788-1914
  4. ^ Dino Foresio, "Italy: Martina Franca", in Opera (London), December 2013, pp. 1575—1576
  5. ^ "Almannaco 28 February 1850" (in Italian). AmadeusOnline. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  • Lecomte, Louis-Henry (1912). Histoire des théâtres de Paris: Les Fantaisies-Parisiennes, l'Athénée Le Théâtre Scribe, l'Athénée-Comique (1865-1911). Paris: H. Daragon. Copy at the Internet Archive.
  • Loewenberg, Alfred (1978). Annals of Opera 1597–1940 (third edition, revised). Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 9780874718515.
  • Warrack, John and Ewan West, The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 1992, ISBN 0-19-869164-5

External links[edit]