Opera in one act
Libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
First performance 8 January 1812, Teatro San Moisè, Venice
Though labelled as a farsa by its composer, L’inganno felice stands out among Rossini’s early operas for depths that point towards the semiseria works that most enshrine his genius, even at one point anticipating the great Act 2 trio of Le Comte Ory. Certainly, it is the most rewarding of Rossini’s early works, and its popularity with the public at its premiere in 1812 is easy to understand; it became the first of his operas to cross the Alps and be heard in Austria and Germany. (When Metternich made Rossini the ‘official composer’ of the 1822 Congress of Verona, this was one of the works he requested.) Rossini was only 19 at the time of its premiere, yet it was his fourth opera (and the third to be heard). It took him back to Venice’s Teatro San Moisè, where his La cambiale di matrimonio had already been premiered and it won him a contract for further operas there – all in all, five of his first nine operas had their premieres at the San Moisè, which specialised in single-act, comic works.
The libretto was a reworking of one already set by Giovanni Paisiello; a few years later Rossini’s version of Il barbiere di Siviglia would eclipse Paisiello’s once-celebrated opera of that name. L’inganno felice (‘The Fortunate Deception’) belongs to the comic-serious genre involving the rescue of a wronged, innocent heroine. Here, in a story set in a seaside mining community, that heroine is Isabella and her rescuer and adopted uncle is Tarabotto. The chaste sadness of her music and the buffo bustle of his are set in effective contrast, supplying tension until the mysterious nocturnal atmosphere of the finale is joyously resolved.
Clayton Whites Hotel | TICKETS €30
Friday 25 October | 3.30 p.m.
Wednesday 30 October | 3.30 p.m.
Saturday 2 November | 3.30 p.m.