La cucina/Adina

Andrew Synnott/Gioachino Rossini

It is the day that has been set aside to celebrate the wedding of the middle-aged Caliph to young Adina; everyone is rejoicing about the event. 

At the same time, a young Arab named Selimo who is in love with Adina and knows nothing about the wedding has learned that the girl is a prisoner in the Caliph’s harem. The two young people, who have been in love since their adolescent years, were actually on the point of getting married when they were tragically separated. Soon Selimo will learn that Adina is now to marry the Caliph and from there the story unfolds with themes of love, betrayal and jealousy. Adina will be prefaced by La cucina which tells the story of a chef's assistant, Bianca, who is baking a wedding cake. The music channels the comic spirit of Rossini as it follows the ups and downs of our heroine. It is joyous and passionate in equal measure and full to the brim with ravishing orchestral colour. 

La cucina/Adina stars Jette Parker Young Artist Rachel Kelly as Adina and 2017 Operalia winner Levy Sekgapane as Selimo, alongside Máire Flavin, Manuel Amati, Sheldon Baxter, Emmanuel Franco, Daniele Antonangeli and Luca Nucera.

A co-production with the Rossini Opera Festival.

"Behind a Georgian terrace in a small fishing town in Ireland something extraordinary happens every October."

-The Times



Few of Gioachino Rossini’s (1792-1868) operas are less well known than Adina. Intriguingly, it’s not an early work but one composed in the aftermath of Rossini’s great creative flourish of 1816–17, which produced masterpieces including Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, so the composer certainly knew what he was doing when he produced Adina with glittering arias and rich orchestral textures. Among the many mysteries surrounding Adina are why it was commissioned in 1818 for a Portuguese patron yet not performed until 1826 at Lisbon’s Teatro São Carlos. Rossini never heard the work himself, and after a performance in 1828 in Rio de Janeiro, it disappeared from view until the 1960s. It was revived in Siena in 1963, and in Oxford in 1968. Rossini’s writing for the title role – and only female protagonist in the piece – is in some ways restrained, perhaps because he designed the part for a singer active in Lisbon he didn’t actually know. Though subtitled Il califfo di Bagdad, and adapted from Felice Romani’s Il califfo e la schiava, the score makes little attempt at Middle-Eastern local colour; indeed, four out of its ten numbers were culled by the composer from his own 1814 opera Sigismondo, which is set in 16th century Poland. The plot is a variation on the then-popular escape-from-the-harem theme, though the heroine on this occasion feels more than usual sympathy for her captor. All is explained – in good time, fortunately – when it transpires that the beautiful slave girl Adina is indeed the caliph’s daughter.  

Creative Team

Michele Spotti


Previous Engagements: Conductor (Don Pasquale, Donizetti, Opéra de Montpellier; Barbe-bleu, Offenbach, Opéra de Lyon; Il matrimonio segreto, Cimarosa, Festival della Valle d'Itria).

Forthcoming Engagements: Conductor (Rigoletto, Verdi, Opéra de Lyon; Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini, Opéra National de Lorraine; Ernani, Verdi, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen).


Rosetta Cucchi


Previously at WFO: Director (Risurrezione, 2017; Salome, 2014; L’Arlesiana, 2012; Tutti in maschera, 2008; Prinzessin Brambilla, 2004).

Previous Engagements: Director (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini, Boston Lyric Opera; Werther, Massenet, Teatro La Fenice; L'elisir d'amore, Donizetti, Omaha Opera).

Forthcoming Engagements: Director (Adriana Lecouvreur, Cilea, Teatro Comunale – Bologna; Risurrezione, Alfano, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino).

Composer (La cucina)
Andrew Synnott


Previously at WFO: Composer/Music Director (Dubliners ShortWork, 2017).

Previous Engagements: Conductor (Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Offenbach, Irish National Opera; Banished, Stephen McNeff, RIAM Opera).

Forthcoming Engagements: Conductor (National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, National Concert Hall – Dublin; World premier, Kevin O’Connell, RIAM Opera), Composer (Incidental Music for The Odyssey, Gavin Kostic).

Set Designer
Tiziano Santi


Previous Engagements: Set Designer (Nabucco, Verdi, Greek National Opera; Semiramide, Rossini, Abao-Olbe – Bilbao; Un ballo in maschera, Verdi, Hungarian State Opera).

Forthcoming Engagements: Set Designer (Madama Butterfly, Puccini, Rennes Angers Nantes Opera; Risurrezione, Alfano, Fondazione del Maggio Fiorentino; Adriana Lecouvreur, Cilea, Teatro Comunale Bologna).

Costume Designer
Claudia Pernigotti


Previously at WFO: Costume Designer (Risurrezione, Alfano, 2017).

Previous engagements: Costume Designer (Werther, Massenet, Teatro La Fenice; Adina, Rossini, Rossini Opera Festival).

Forthcoming engagements: Costume Designer (Risurrezione, Alfano, Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino).

Lighting Designer
Simon Corder

United Kingdom

Previously at WFO: Lighting Designer, 2012.

Previous Engagements: Set and Lighting Designer (Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti, Opera Hedeland; La Cenerentola, Rossini, Greek National Opera & Teatro Verdi – Trieste), Lighting Designer (Pique Dame, Tchaikovsky, Teatro alla Scala).

Forthcoming Engagements: Set & Lighting Designer (Un ballo in maschera, Verdi, Oldenburgisches Staatstheater), Lighting Designer (La clemenza di Tito, Mozart, Bergen National Opera; The Life & Death of Alexander Litvinenko, Anthony Bolton, Grange Park Opera).

Assistant Director
Stefania Panighini


Previously at WFO: Assistant Director (Salome, 2015).

Previous Engagements: Director (Hansel und Gretel, Humperdinck, Opera de Tenerife; Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini, Teatro dell’Opera Giocosa – Savona; La traviata, Verdi, Dalla Opera).

Forthcoming Engagements: Director (La traviata, Verdi, Daegu Opera House; Don Pasquale, Donizetti, Teatro dell’Opera Giocosa – Savona; Rinaldo, Handel, Opera de Tenerife).

Chorusmaster (Adina)
Errol Girdlestone

United Kingdom

Previous Engagements: Conductor (Messiah, Handel, Association Musique de Chambre – Monaco; Vespers 1610, Monteverdi, Association Musique de Chambre – Monaco, Concerti Grossi/Dixit Dominus, Corelli/Handel, Ristretto).

Forthcoming Engagements: Conductor (Strathclyde Motets/Magnificat Antiphons, James MacMillan/Arvo Pärt, Summer Academy, Lumière; Messiah, Handel, St. Paul's Church – Monaco, Nelson Mass, Haydn, Ristretto).

Giorgio D'alonzo


Previously at WFO: Répétiteur (L’oracolo/Mala vita, 2018; Margherita, 2017); Music Director (La fanciulla del West ShortWork, 2018; Rigoletto ShortWork, 2017).

Previous Engagements: Répétiteur and continuist (Il trionfo dell’onore, Scarlatti, Festival della Valle d’Itria); Répétiteur (Don Pasquale, Donizetti, Teatro Comunale Bologna; La traviata, Verdi, Festival Verdi di Parma).

Forthcoming Engagements: Répétiteur (Coscoletto, Offenbach, Festival della Valle d’Itria).

Jessica Hall


Previously at WFO: Répétiteur (Dinner at Eight, 2018).

Previous Engagements: Répétiteur (As One, Laura Kaminsky/Mark Campbell, Opera Memphis; L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra), Coach/Pianist (La finta giardiniera, Mozart, Portland Opera).


Bianca (Sous-chef) (La cucina)
Máire Flavin


Previous Engagements: Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro, Mozart, Salzburg Landestheater, Irish National Opera); Anna Sørensen (Silent Night, Putts, Opera North); Hanna Glawari (The Merry Widow, Lehár, Opera North).

Forthcoming Engagements: Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro, Mozart, Opera North); Hannah (The Second Violinist, Donnacha Dennehy, The Armory, New York City).

Tobia Aiuto del fornitor (La cucina) Ali (Adina)
Manuel Amati


Previous Engagements: Remendado (Carmen, Bizet, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino); Cavalier Belfiore (Il viaggio a Reims, Rossini, Rossini Opera Festival – Pesaro), Conte Bellezza (Le donne vendicate, Piccinni, Festival della Valle d’Itria).

Forthcoming Engagements: Albazar (Il Turco in Italia, Rossini, Teatro alla Scala), Bruschino Figlio (Il Signor Bruschino, Rossini, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro), Tenor Soloist (Requiem, Mozart, Teatro Municipale – Piacenza).

Camillo Aiuto cuoco (La cucina)
Emmanuel Franco


Previous Engagements: Aliprando (Matilde di Shabran, Rossini, Wildbad Belcanto Opera Festival), Barone Macacco (I Tre Gobbi, Manuel García, Wildbad Belcanto Opera Festival), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore, Donizetti, Fundación Baluarte – Pamplona).

Zeno Fornitore (La cucina)
Sheldon Baxter


Previously at WFO: Gustave (Dinner at Eight, 2018), Peter (Hansel and Gretal ShortWork, 2015), Second Archer (Le Pré aux clercs, 2015).

Previous Engagements: Albert (Werther, Massenet, Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance), Baritone (Trouble in Tahiti, Bernstein, Semperoper Dresden), Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni, Mozart, Szene12 Dresden).

Forthcoming Engagements: Herzog Blaubart (Herzog Blaubarts Burg, Bartók, Szene12 Dresden), Oscar (Cabaret, Kander, Semperoper Dresden).

Chef Alberto Famosissimo (Chef) (La cucina)
Luca Nucera


Previous Engagements: Puck (Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare, Fondazione Teatro Due Parma, Teatro La Fenice), Fabrizio (La Locandiera, Goldoni, Fondazione Teatro Due Parma), Devil (Histoire du Soldat, Stravinsky, Fondazione Teatro Due Parma).

Forthcoming Engagements: TBC (The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare, Fondazione Teatro Due Parma).

Adina (Adina)
Rachel Kelly


Previous Engagements: Isolier (Le Comte Ory, Rossini, Opéra de Rennes), L’Eternità/Giunone (La Calisto, Cavalli, Teatro Real), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck, English National Opera/Regents Park Open Air Theatre).

Forthcoming engagements: Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale, Rouders, Royal Danish Theatre).

Selimo (Adina)
Levy Sekgapane

South Africa

Previous Engagements: Conte Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini, Teatro Massimo – Palermo), Arbace (Idomeneo, Mozart, Salzburg Festival), Conte Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini, Glyndebourne Festival).

Forthcoming Engagements: Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola, Rossini, Opéra Royal de Wallonie; Bayerische Staatsoper München), Ernesto (Don Pasquale, Donizetti, Nationaltheater Mannheim).

The Caliph (Adina)
Daniele Antonangeli


Previous Engagements: Sergente (Manon Lescaut, Puccini, Teatro alla Scala), Colline (La bohème, Puccini, Festspielhaus Erl), Alidoro (La Cenerentola, Rossini, Teatro delle Muse – Ancona).

Forthcoming Engagements: Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni, Mozart, Teatro Verdi – Pisa), Bass (Petite Messe Solennelle, Rossini, Théâtre des Champs Élysées), Marchese d'Obigny (La traviata, Verdi, Opéra de Monte-Carlo).