Il cappello di paglia di Firenze

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For other uses, see Un chapeau de paille d'Italie.

Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (literally translated as The Florentine Straw Hat but usually titled in English language productions as The Italian Straw Hat) is an opera by Nino Rota to an Italian-language libretto by the composer and Ernesta Rota, based on the play Le chapeau de paille d'Italie by Eugène Labiche and Marc Michel.[1]

The opera premièred at the Teatro Massimo, Palermo on 21 April 1955. The first performance in the United States was at the Santa Fe Opera in 1977, with Ragnar Ulfung as Fadinard, Ashley Putnam as Elena, Kathryn Day as Anaide, and Stephen Dickson as Emilio.[2] The first New York City performance, starring Vincenzo Manno as Fadinard, took place in 1978. More recently, the opera was performed at the 2013 Wexford Festival.[3]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, April 21, 1955
(Conductor: Jonel Perlea)[4]
Fadinard, a bridegroom tenor Nicola Filacuridi
Elena, Fadinard's bride soprano Ornella Rovero
Anaide, wife of Beaupertuis soprano Mafalda Micheluzzi
Emilio, Anaide's lover baritone Otello Borgonovo
Nonancourt, Elena's father bass Alfredo Mariotti
Felice, Fadinard's servant tenor Mario Ferrara
A milliner soprano Luisa Talamini
La Baronessa di Champigny mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Rota
Minardi, a famous violinist spoken role Carmelo Alongi
Beaupertuis, husband of Anaide baritone Guglielmo Ferrara
Vézinet, Elena's uncle tenor Renato Ercolani
Viscount Achille de Rosalba tenor Vittorio Pandano
A corporal of the guard baritone Leonardo Ciriminna
A guardsman tenor Caetano Crinzi
Wedding guests, milliners, the Baroness's guests, guards


Place: Paris
Time: 1850

Act 1[edit]

Fadinard's house

Fadinard arrives to make sure that the plans for his marriage with Elena are under control, but almost immediately Anaida and Emilio appear, complaining that Anaida's straw hat has been eaten by Fadinard's horse. A replacement hat is needed immediately, or Anaida's jealous husband Beaupertuis will smell a rat. The lovers hide when Elena, her father (Nonancourt), her uncle Vézinet and the other wedding-guests, arrive. Fadinard had sent his servant Felice out to obtain a duplicate hat, but when he returns without success, Fadinard, threatened by Emilio, has to set out to find a duplicate hat.

Act 2[edit]

Scene 1: A milliner's shop

One of the milliners tells Fadinard that the last Italian straw hat has been sold to the Baronessa di Champigny. He hurries away to her villa.

Scene 2: The Baronessa di Champigny's villa

When Fadinard arrives, the Baronessa assumes that he is Minardi, the famous violinist, who has been engaged to entertain her guests. Fadinard does not correct her, but when the real Minardi appears, he concentrates on the whereabouts of the hat. It seems that she has passed the hat on to Anaide, the wife of Beaupertuis. Fadinard's guests have been pursuing him, but when they arrive he disappears in the direction of Beaupertuis's house, while the wedding party is entertained by Minardi and his pianist.

Act 3[edit]

Beaupertuis's house

Early in the evening, Beaupertuis is annoyed that his wife has not returned from a lengthy trip to the shops and suspects that she is having an affair. Fadinard arrives in search of the straw hat but fails to find it.

Act 4[edit]

A street in Paris

Films and recordings[edit]

Two movies of the opera have been made, both by RAI and initially for Italian television. Gregoretti shot the first in 1974 at Cinecittà; it was first broadcast in January 1975.[5] Its celebrated soundtrack, recorded at RCA studios in Italy, was conducted by Rota himself and starred mezzo-soprano Viorica Cortez as well as such other respected opera singers as Daniela Mazzucato, Ugo Benelli, Alfredo Mariotti, Mario Basiola, and Giorgio Zancanaro; it was originally released by RCA and has more recently been available on the Ricordi label (with Mazzucato's name misspelled). Copies of the Gregoretti movie itself, quite rare to find, make collector's items, though the movie is preserved and was screened as recently as 2009 in Italy for IRTEM members.[6]

The second movie was made in 1999 under the direction of Pier Luigi Pizzi. Bruno Campanella led a cast headed by Juan Diego Flórez, Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, Francesca Franci, Alfonso Antoniozzi, and Giovanni Furlanetto.

In addition, Opera d'Oro markets a live Brussels recording from 1976 conducted by Boncompagni; Devia, Olivero, E. Giménez, Davià, and Socci sing the lead roles.


External links[edit]