Lo frate 'nnamorato

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Lo frate 'nnamorato
Commedia musicale by G. B. Pergolesi
Pergolesi, compositor.png
Caricature of the composer by Pier Leone Ghezzi, c. 1734
Translation The Brother in Love
Librettist Gennaro Antonio Federico
Language Neapolitan and Italian
Premiere 27 September 1732 (1732-09-27)
Teatro dei Fiorentini, Naples

Lo frate 'nnamorato (Neapolitan: The Brother in Love) is a three-act commedia musicale (a form of opera buffa) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, to a Neapolitan libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico, first performed in 1732.

Composition history[edit]

The opera, written when the composer was only 22, is his first attempt at comic opera. (It was followed in 1733 by his better-known short opera, La serva padrona). The first performance was on 27 September 1732, at the Teatro dei Fiorentini, Naples. A successful run was halted by a severe earthquake, which closed the theatres in Naples until the autumn of 1733. It was re-presented during the 1734 carnival season, in a version revised by the author.


Role Voice type[1] Premiere cast[2]
27 September 1732
Comic Vannella, Carlo's maidservant soprano Margherita Pozzi
Cardella, Marcaniello's maidservant soprano Maria Morante[3]
Marcaniello, an elderly Neapolitan bass Giacomo D'Ambrosio
Mixture Don Pietro, Marcaniello´s son bass Girolamo Piani
Carlo, a Roman tenor Giovanni Battista Ciriaci
Nina, his niece contralto Teresa De Palma [4]
Nena, his niece soprano Marianna Ferrante
Serious Ascanio, his adopted son soprano (en travesti) Teresa Passaglioni
Luggrezia, his daughter contralto Rosa Gherardini

At this time in history, when comic opera was in its infancy, librettists wrote works with both comic and serious characters.


Setting: House of Marcaniello; Capodimonte region of Naples

Ascanio, the brother of Nina and Nena, was stolen by brigands in childhood and presumed lost; he was, however, found and adopted by Marcaniello.

Now, Nina and Nena are the wards of their uncle, the Roman Don Carlo. Don Carlo wishes to marry Luggrezia, the daughter of Marcaniello, who himself wishes to marry Nina and to take Nena as wife for his son, the foppish Don Pietro. Nina and Nena meanwhile have fallen in love with Ascanio, not realising their relationship. The two maids Vanella (servant of Carlo) and Cardella (servant of Marcaniello) comment on and take part in the various intrigues which ensue.

Finally, in a duel with Carlo, the latter recognises Ascanio as his lost nephew by a birthmark on his arm. Ascanio and Luggrezia are now free to marry.


  • Flute/Oboe (flautist would play oboe in some numbers)
  • Strings
  • Continuo


key: conductor/Nena/Nina/Luggrezia/Ascanio/Carlo/Marcaniello/Pietro/Cardella/Vannella


  1. ^ According to Mellace
  2. ^ "CORAGO" (in Italian). University of Bologna. Retrieved 24 November 2016. 
  3. ^ In the 1734 revival this role was taken by Virginia Gasparrini
  4. ^ In the 1734 revival this role was taken by a Maria Negri not to be confused with the more well-known Maria Caterina Negri who was working at the time with Handel in London (Sechi, Giovanni Andrea (2013) "Negri, Maria Caterina". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Retrieved 19 February 2018).


  • (in Italian) Raffaele Mellace, Frate 'nnamorato, Lo, in Piero Gelli and Filippo Poletti (editors), Dizionario dell'opera 2008, Milan, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2007, pp. 520–523, ISBN 978-88-6073-184-5 (reproduced at Opera Manager)

External links[edit]