Rossini called his opera a farsa, although as Richard Osborne explains: "Its designation as a farsa is misleading in the light of its semiseria status as a romantic melodrama with buffo elements."  The work has much in common with French Revolutionary operas such as Cherubini's Les deux journées.
By the end of the 1810s it had been heard in theatres throughout Italy as well as in Paris and London. Following this triumph, Rossini was commissioned to write three more operas by the manager of the Teatro San Moisè.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 8 January 1812
(Conductor: - )
|Duca Bertrando||tenor||Raffaele Monelli|
|Batone||bass (or baritone)||Filippo Galli|
|Ormondo||bass (or baritone)||Vincenzo Venturi|
Before the action begins, the villainous Ormondo was in love with Isabella, who was happily married to Duke Bertrando, but, when she rejected his advances, Ormondo spread vicious rumours about her reputation and bribed Batone into casting her adrift in a boat on the sea. However, she was rescued by a local miner, Tarabotto, who then disguised her as his niece, Nisa.
- Time: The distant past
- Place: A seaside mining village in Italy
The opera begins ten years after her rescue. Duke Bertrando is due to visit the mines. Isabella, who is still in love with her husband, finally reveals her true identity to Tarabotto who promises to help her. The duke arrives with Ormondo and Batone. The duke is still in love with his wife even though he believes the rumours that she had been unfaithful to him. Batone catches sight of "Nisa" and realises she is Isabella in disguise. He plots with Ormondo to abduct her that night, but Tarabotto overhears their plan. Before they can kidnap Isabella, the two villains are unmasked and "Nisa"'s true story is revealed when she shows everyone her duchess' clothes and a portrait of the duke she has kept with her. Bertrando and Isabella are reunited.
Isabella, Bertrando, Batone, Tarabotto
Opera House and Orchestra
Le Concert des Tuileries Orchestra
(Recorded at performances in the Théâtre de Poissy, 12–17 June)
|Audio CD: ERATO
Cat: 0630 17579-2
Brno Chamber Soloists
(Recorded at concert performances in the Kurtheater, Wildbad, July)
|Audio CD: Naxos
- Osborne, R., 1992, p. ??
- Listing on Operabase
- Osborne, C., 1994, p. 14
- Recordings of L'inganno felice on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
- Holden, Amanda (ed.) (2001), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
- Osborne, Charles (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-71-3
- Osborne, Richard (1992), L'inganno felice in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie, London. ISBN 0-333-73432-7
- Booklet notes accompanying the Minkowski recording