About this Recording
8.660277-78 - ROSSINI, G.: Gazzetta (La) (Cristarella Orestano, Gauthier, Naples San Pietro a Majella Conservatory Chorus, Czech Chamber Soloists, Franklin)
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Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868)
La gazzetta

 

Dramma per musica in two acts by Giuseppe Palomba
Critical edition by the Fondazione Rossini, edited by Philip Gossett and Fabrizio Scipioni (Ricordi BMG)
Reconstruction of the 1st Act Quintet by the Deutsche Rossini Gesellschaft, edited by Stefano Piana

Don Pomponio Storione – Marco Cristarella Orestano, Baritone
Lisetta – Judith Gauthier, Soprano
Filippo – Giulio Mastrototaro, Baritone
Don Anselmo – Vincenzo Bruzzaniti, Bass
Doralice – Rossella Bevacqua, Soprano
Alberto – Michael Spyres, Tenor
Madama La Rose – Maria Soulis, Mezzo-soprano
Monsù Traversen – Filippo Polinelli, Baritone
Tommasino – Emanuele Capissi, Spoken rôle

 

Hearing Rossini’s La gazzetta anew

The comic opera La gazzetta was written between its famous sisters Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola (Cinderella) but in comparison with these two it remained the real Cinderella among Rossini’s comic operas—not least also in writings about Rossini. However the recent discovery of Rossini’s letters to his mother, as well as the publication of the new critical edition of La gazzetta permit a reappraisal of the work.

Rossini’s commitment to the famous Teatro San Carlo in Naples meant above all a sphere of activity in the field of serious opera, and he wrote nine such works between 1815 and 1822; in hindsight a single comic opera written for the less important Teatro dei Fiorentini seems to be a curiosity and a concession to the Neapolitans who also wanted an original opera buffa from the famous composer. This double presence fitted in with Rossini’s intentions to conquer new territory: the simultaneous presentation of new works of diverse genres in several theatres (quite apart from the contemporaneous presentation of earlier works). “My compositions are for everybody” and “everyone enjoys my music, in whatever theatre it is performed” were his maxims. They complied with Rossini’s own wish to provide the Teatro dei Fiorentini with his visiting card. On 18 October 1815, a few days after he had taken the sceptical Neapolitans by storm with his opera Elisabetta, the impresario Domenico Barbaja was authorised by the directors of the theatre to book the young composer to write two operas for the forthcoming season, one for Easter to be performed in the Teatro dei Fiorentini and the second, in the autumn, for the Teatro San Carlo. Rossini revealed how the commission came about in a letter to his mother of 27 October 1815: “From Rome I will return to Naples in order to write two operas—a comic one for the Teatro del Fondo or Fiorentini and a tragic one, with ballet inserts for the San Carlo.” In 1816 Easter fell on 14 April, but Rossini did not return from Rome until the beginning of March, as he wrote from Bologna on 5 March: “I have been well received in Naples, where my return to the city has been celebrated.” But first he had to write a cantata, Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo, for a ceremony to celebrate the wedding of the Princess Maria Carolina to Count von Berry. Since it was going to be impossible to meet the Easter deadline for this commission, Rossini did not have to hurry, as he knew that the next important event was the opening of the summer season at the end of August.

Rossini probably began work at the beginning of June, as a letter of 18 June to his mother suggests: “I am writing now a comic opera called La gazzetta for the Teatro dei Fiorentini.” But the patience of the Neapolitans was to be put to the test further, as can be gathered from the newspaper the Giornale delle due Sicilie of 7 August 1816: “The out-of-town newspapers have announced a new work by Rossini for this theatre (dei Fiorentini) and everybody is sure that it will appear soon. Everyone longs for it to happen but unfortunately the unanimous wish of the public is not being fulfilled and the public is getting bored with a repetition of the same old rubbish.”

The first rehearsals were apparently scheduled to take place on 14 August but in the intervening period Rossini was busy with a production of Tancredi (Venice 1813) at the Teatro del Fondo. On 29 August the Giornale wrote: “Tonight the first performance of Rossini’s Tancredi will be given […] We hope that Signor Rossini, now free of this obligation, will have the courtesy to dedicate the promised Matrimonio per concorso¹ to the Teatro dei Fiorentini, which has long wanted a new work from him.” At this time Rossini should for the most part have completed the awaited opera, as on 27 August he wrote to his mother: “The comic opera is ready and will soon go on to the stage.” It is probable that the orchestration was not yet finished at that time, if a communication of 6 September from Barbaja to the theatre management is to be believed: “I have arranged for Rossini’s Il matrimonio per concorso to be presented for the opening of the Teatro dei Fiorentini and Rossini has promised to finish the score by this time.” And on 10 September Rossini’s landlord, Fumagalli, wrote to Anna Rossini: “He is writing a comic opera for the Teatro dei Fiorentini and the music is already very highly regarded,” a hint, perhaps, that Rossini was orchestrating the score after the rehearsals had already started. Rossini himself added a postscript to the letter: “Soon I will be going on to the set.”

As was so often the case when Rossini composed for localities that were new to him he drew on already existing music from previous works, so that he could concentrate on the special demands of his new surroundings. At the popular Teatro dei Fiorentini there was the challenge to write one main rôle in Neapolitan dialect. In the above-mentioned letter to his mother of 18 June, Rossini wrote: “I do not really understand the Neapolitan dialect, which provides the dialogue and the development of the action of this work. Will Heaven come to my aid?” Furthermore he had to get to know the specialist performer of such rôles, the singer and comedian Carlo Casaccia, or Casacciello as he was fondly known. It was precisely because Rossini did not take La gazzetta lightly that its completion was delayed more and more. The handwritten score bears witness to the care with which Rossini set to work.

At last, on 26 September 1816, the opera had its première. It was a great public success even if some sections of the press were critical. In letters to his mother Rossini admitted: “At last a great stone has been lifted from my heart. The opera for the Teatro dei Fiorentini, La gazzetta, made quite a splash and everyone has been surprised how easily and effectively I have been able to set the Neapolitan dialect to music. I can assure you that I have never heard my heart beat faster than at the première of this performance. But the instant success was most gratifying and I hope that you will share in my happiness. Curioni, Pelegrini and Casaciello [sic! for Margherita Chabrand (Lisetta), Alberico Curioni (Alberto), Felice Pellegrini (Filippo) and Carlo Casaccia “Casacciello” (Don Pomponio)] have all served me wonderfully well. Barbaja is overjoyed and I am revelling in it.” The public success was attested to by 21 confirmed performances. The critic of the Giornale delle due Sicilie praised the singers, but found the libretto to be vulgar and the music correspondingly weak in parts. This negative judgment persists to this day and was compounded by the confusion of Rossini biographers concerning the author of the text, the Neapolitan librettist Giuseppe Palomba: in 1864 Azevedo wrongly ascribed authorship of the text to the librettist Andrea Leone Tottola, who was active in Naples during the same period, and in 1927 Radiciotti maintained, without any strong evidence, that Tottola had revised Palomba’s libretto, a fact which Weinstock accepted unchecked in 1968.

The action of La gazzetta takes place in a Parisian inn, “The Eagle”, where several guests have taken up lodgings. Don Pomponio, a ridiculous braggart and a true-blood Neapolitan has extolled his daughter’s best attributes in a local newspaper advertisement with a view to marrying her off. But he is unaware that she is already in love (how could it be otherwise?) with Filippo, the enterprising owner of the inn where they are staying. Alberto, a romantic globe-trotter has fallen for Doralice, whom he believes to be the girl in the advertisement, so we have all the usual confusions, misunderstandings, quarrels, disguises, swoonings and duels until the happy end is reached and a double wedding celebrated. The libretto is full of old-school episodes in the manner of Goldoni, tailor-made for the demotic public of the Teatro dei Fiorentini. Carlo Goldoni’s prose-comedy Il matrimonio per concorso was first performed in Venice in 1763. Although Rossini called his opera La gazzetta right from the start, his contemporaries adhered to the title of the original work to the last, an indication of the popularity of Goldoni’s comedy. One might assume that Rossini himself chose the framework, as was so often the case when it was a subject matter which had been set previously by his peers and against whom he could measure himself. Il matrimonio per concorso with music by Giuseppe Farinelli to a libretto by Giuseppe Foppa received its première on 19 April 1813 in Venice (Teatro San Moisè) and ran until the end of June at the same time as Rossini was there writing his opera L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers). But it was not this libretto which Palomba took as his model but another adaptation of the Goldoni subject matter, with which Rossini was acquainted: the opera Avviso al pubblico by Giuseppe Mosca, which saw the light of day on 4 January 1814 at La Scala, while Rossini was living in Milan writing Aureliano in Palmira and supervising a revival of Tancredi.

The libretto was provided by Gaetano Rossi, whom Rossini valued highly. Palomba followed this text so slavishly, at least in Act I, that he could have been accused of plagiarism. Perhaps he might have copied his model even more closely, had not Rossini’s wish to make use of existing music called for more ample modifications. The pieces which Rossini borrowed in extensis, which themselves required only slight changes to the text, are such distinguished numbers as Fiorilla’s alternative aria, the duet between Fiorilla and Geronio and the masked ball Quintet from Il Turco in Italia as well as the “duel duet” from La pietra del paragone. In the case of such enchanting pieces one can only say: to hear them again is a pleasure. Of those numbers which consist partly of new conceptions and partly of revised ideas (from the operas La cambiale di matrimonio, L’equivoco stravagante, La scala di seta, La pietra del paragone, Torvaldo e Dorliska) virtually all are worth mentioning: the lively introduction containing Alberto’s almost melancholy Cavatina, Don Pomponio’s marvellous “entrance aria”, the Act 1 Finale (which, with its “confusion scene”, constitutes a musical high point and is in no way inferior to those more famous examples in Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola) and Alberto’s aria. This last is a sort of special case; Rossini deployed the melody of the “ma voce teneraallegro in no fewer than seven operas. Of the numbers to be newly composed he handed over both “sorbet” arias² to an unknown collaborator who also composed all the secco recitatives; it is him we have to thank for Doralice’s delicate aria and for Madame La Rose’s aria with its elaborate oboe accompaniment. However, the overwhelming quarrel and reconciliation duet and both of their substantial arias in Act II were newly written in their entirety by Rossini himself. In the case of the Overture, which Rossini used later for La Cenerentola, there is justified speculation that it was conceived originally for Il barbiere di Siviglia.

A problem arises with a sequence of scenes included in Act I of the libretto published in Naples in 1816, but which finds absolutely no equivalent in the autograph score or in the duplicate copies of the time. The missing scenes VI–VIII include a long recitative which is important for advancing the action, as well as a Quintet for Lisetta, Doralice, Alberto, Filippo and Don Pomponio, which presents verses which are similar to the famous Sextet in (the yet-to-be-written) La Cenerentola and to the first Finale of Il barbiere. It is unlikely that such a long passage would have remained in the libretto if the composer had not set it to music. By the same token it is improbable that such a large dramaturgical void would not have been mentioned by the vigilant anonymous reviewer writing in Giornale delle Due Sicilie (4 October, 1816), who provides proof of the existence of the Quintet when praising the art of Pellegrini, the singer taking the rôle of Filippo in the first act Quintet.

An incorrect rebinding of some sheets in the autograph score is an indication, furthermore, that Rossini did compose this number but that it was removed a short time later, although one can only guess at the reason for doing so. Perhaps he removed the piece because of the cantabile section whose potential for further development he recognised and which he would develop finally as the Sextet of the famous Questo è un nodo avviluppato in La Cenerentola. On the basis of its conviction that the Quintet had once existed, it was a self-evident step for the German Rossini Society to commission Stefano Piana to compose a recitative for scenes VII and VIII (scene VI had already been provided by Philip Gossett for the critical edition of the Rossini Foundation) and to reconstruct the Quintet. For the initial maestoso section “Questo? Questa? Come? Che?” and the moment of utter astonishment expressed in “Già nel capo un giramento” Piana appropriated the Sextet Questo è un nodo avviluppato from La Cenerentola. For the bridge passage “Voi Filippo avete detto”, he borrowed a passage from the Quartet from La scala di seta with the same poetic metre; and for the stretta section “Mi par d’esser con la testa” he employed the last section from the first Finale of Il barbiere based on the same words.

In doing so Piana assumed that, in comparison with the famous Sextet from La Cenerentola, the maestoso section existed initially in an embryonic state and that Rossini did not take up the stretta from Il barbiere at its full length. By using these shortened passages, the Quintet acquires a weight which in the overall structure of the opera does not compete with the Act I Finale.

The artistic value of La gazzetta increases considerably if one concludes that this Quintet was originally composed by Rossini. It represents an attempt to complete the structure of the first act with an additional large ensemble (apart from the Introduction No. 1, the Quartet No. 3 and the first Finale, No. 7) an experiment which would definitely fit in with Rossini’s future artistic development. Furthermore with the Quintet La gazzetta provides at least an inspired main piece—the famous Sextet in the 2nd Act—for its big sister La Cenerentola. Rossini’s six-month delay in starting work on the opera was previously thought to be because of his aversion to dealing with apparently anachronistic material but the care with which he reworked existing material, composed new pieces, and expanded the structure shows that this view was false.

Compared with the modern revivals performed since the 1960s, the new critical edition seems so much more dynamic than before, thanks to its absolute respect for the inclusion of previously cut repetitions and ritornelli, the uncut arias of Alberto and Lisetta and the high-quality “sorbet” arias written by Rossini’s collaborator. Thanks to the reconstruction of the Quintet the opera can now be presented with a dramatically impeccable and musically persuasive solution to the huge lacuna in Act I.

Reto Müller
English version: David Stevens

¹ The romantic comedy by Goldoni on which La gazzetta is based.
² These arias were genuinely taken as an opportunity for the audience to eat sorbets.

 

Synopsis

CD 1

[1] Sinfonia

Act I

[2] The scene is set in Paris, in pleasant gardens, with shaded avenues to one side, statues, fountains and several shops selling things to drink. People are walking around, enjoying the occasion, and sitting to take various refreshments. The rich and somewhat feckless Alberto complains of his vain search for a wife throughout the world. He is greeted by Madama La Rose, while old Monsù Traversen sees the boy with the papers and all are eager to read the latest news.

[3] In reply to Madama La Rose Alberto complains that he has so far found no woman to satisfy him, anyone, either in Paris or in Germany, or in Holland or the whole world, who is without some defect. Madama La Rose thinks he is too critical. The paper boy approaches and Alberto eagerly takes a copy.

[4] The self-important Don Pomponio appears, richly dressed and proud of the figure he cuts. He is followed by two servants. In his Neapolitan dialect he tells of his difficulty in finding a husband for his daughter Lisetta, in spite of searching in country after country and advertising in the newspapers, addressing his monologue to his servant Tommasino.

[5] Madama La Rose draws the attention of Alberto to something in the paper, while Don Pomponio comments, aside, on what they are reading Alberto reads out a notice to the public of the arrival in this capital of a visitor, an Italian, former merchant and very rich, outstanding in talents and abilities, who has a daughter for whom he seeks a husband. While Alberto is reading out the advertisement, Don Pomponio is at first pleased at what he hears and then irritated by the comments of the others; Traversen thinks the advertiser must be an impostor and a charlatan, and Alberto and Madama La Rose find the advertisement equally ridiculous. Alberto continues reading the announcement inviting competitors for the hand of the advertiser’s daughter and the concomitant dowry. This arouses further laughter and Don Pomponio is relieved that he has not been recognised. Alberto, however, is more tolerant, to Don Pomponio’s approval. Traversen is determined to find out the advertiser’s identity and asks the boy, who indicates that it is Don Pomponio, and he and Madama La Rose resolve to make fun of him, while Alberto urges a more cautious approach.

[6] Traversen asks Don Pomponio if he is Italian, and is told that he is from Naples. Alberto would be politer, but the other two are resolved to make fun of their victim, and question him about his daughter and his newspaper announcement. Alberto suggests an end to the conversation and they take their leave.

[7] The scene changes to an elegant salon in Filippo’s inn. Filippo knows that Don Pomponio’s plans to find some great lord to marry his daughter are in vain; he and Lisetta are in love and intend to marry. His thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Anselmo, who orders rooms for himself and his daughter, Doralice, and as they leave, Filippo resumes his former thoughts, aware that Don Pomponio will not accept an inn-keeper as his son-in-law. He is interrupted by the appearance of Lisetta.

[8] Lisetta is elegantly dressed and makes clear her love of fashion, her capricious character and her desire for love, fashion and pleasure.

[9] She asks where Filippo is, and he comes forward and he tells her that he has already married her off. Alberto appears, apparently the first to reply to Don Pomponio’s advertisement; it seems to him that Lisetta corresponds to the description in the newspaper and he asks whether she will marry him. Filippo tells him that Lisetta is not the lady in the advertisement and is in fact his wife. Alberto regrets his mistake, as the other two go out. Doralice appears, satisfied with the room she has been given. She sees Alberto, who thinks she must be the one and addresses her, telling her that he is there in answer to her father’s invitation in the newspaper, something she knows nothing at all about. He goes on to question her as to her father, whether he is Italian, a merchant, to which she assents, horrified at what she now thinks her father must have done and bursting into tears. Alberto tries to comfort her, suggesting that finding a husband is no bad thing and telling her he is already in love with her. Her answer depends on her father, she tells him, as she leaves the room. Alberto is puzzled at what has happened, and sees Don Pomponio approaching, whom he supposes to be Doralice’s father. Plucking up courage, he addresses him, telling him that he has seen his daughter and finds her very beautiful; he asks to be allowed to marry her. Don Pomponio has some questions to settle: first, the suitor’s name. Alberto is not grand enough to become the son-in-law of Pomponio Storione, with all that that name implies. Alberto points out that Storione means sturgeon, a fish, but Don Pomponio derives Pomponio from Pomp, and then Pompilius, Pompey and Pompeii, and Storione from History; he finds Alberto’s family name, De Filippi, equally objectionable, but Alberto counters this by suggesting a derivation from Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Don Pomponio demurs; he will speak of the matter to his daughter. Alberto tells him that he has met her and that she is happy to marry him, as he goes into one of the side rooms. Don Pomponio is joined by Lisetta; he tells her that has already married her off. Filippo has come in and is upset to hear this, while Doralice has come to find her new lover. Lisetta tells her father that she has no intention of being married through newspapers and competitions and will marry someone who pleases her. Don Pomponio tells her that the man he has chosen for her is Filippo, news that is delightful to Lisetta and to Filippo, who is observing the scene. She asks where Filippo is, and Filippo comes forward, to be rejected at once by Don Pomponio. At this juncture Alberto returns, to be welcomed by Don Pomponio as his daughter’s future husband.

[10] The news astonishes Lisetta, Filippo, Alberto and Doralice and Lisetta declares that she loves only Filippo and will marry him, while Alberto tells Don Pomponio that Lisetta is already married to Filippo, a match completely unacceptable to Don Pomponio, with his pretensions to nobility. All is confusion, as the scene ends and they disperse.

[11] Don Pomponio confides again in his servant Tommasino, complaining that he has arranged a competition for his daughter’s hand only to find her engaged already; he will cut her off without a penny. He is observed by Madama La Rose and Doralice, to their amusement, while he sends Tommasino to insert another notice in the newspaper, as ridiculous as his earlier announcement, now offering himself to marry the lucky woman. Madama La Rose and Doralice come forward and greet Don Pomponio, who asks if they are married. Madama La Rose tells him she has a husband but he knows something of Doralice’s situation, and puts himself forward as a desirable husband. Doralice pretends to be impressed by such a handsome suitor but in spite of this she cannot assent, as her heart is not her own.

[12] Doralice would like to explain the state of her affections, but hopes that one day heaven will grant her happiness.

[13] Filippo is busy ordering his servants to see to the rooms. Don Pomponio approaches him, observed by Madama La Rose, but Filippo carries on with his work. Eventually he pays attention to Don Pomponio, abusing him for his stupidity, while Madama La Rose comes forward, declaring herself Filippo’s wife. Filippo explains to Don Pomponio that the preparations he is making are to accommodate a rich Quaker preparing to open a business in Holland who has read in the paper about the superhuman qualities of Lisetta. Filippo and Madama La Rose leave the room, and Don Pomponio sees Lisetta coming in. She is appalled to have discovered that her Filippo is apparently married.

[14] Lisetta insists, nevertheless, on having her own way, whatever her father may say or do, with as many lovers as she wants. They leave the room.

[15] Madama La Rose, Traversen, Doralice, Anselmo and Alberto enter, all ready to enjoy the joke they intend to play on Don Pomponio with Filippo’s disguised Quakers, in spite of Anselmo’s reservations. They move aside, ready to see what happens.

[16] Don Pomponio and Lisetta receive Filippo, heavily disguised as a Quaker, wearing a periwig that partly covers his eyes. He greets Don Pomponio and Lisetta, with an assumed Dutch accent, their exchange taken up by other pretend Quakers. Filippo asks Don Pomponio if he is Italian and whether he speaks Dutch. He resolves to do his best speaking Italian. All seems to be going well, until Lisetta interrupts, determined to have nothing to do with this impostor. Filippo is surprised at this turn of events.

[17] Doralice, Anselmo, Madama La Rose and Monsù Traversen come forward. Alberto does not know which is the daughter of Don Pomponio, Doralice or Lisetta, but Doralice is in love with him, while Lisetta regrets her anger with Filippo. He wonders how he can placate her, and all is confusion, as the act draws to an end.

CD 2

Act II

[1] In a room in the same inn Madama La Rose comments on the scene. Monsù Traversen seeks the hand of Anselmo’s daughter in marriage, a sudden proposal seemingly in the Parisian manner, to which Anselmo assents, while Doralice has no intention of accepting. Madama La Rose approves.

[2] Madama La Rose thinks that marriages contracted quickly are the best. For her part, if a gallant approaches her, she never shows herself unwilling. They go out, Traversen arm in arm with Doralice, observed by Alberto, who now realises that Doralice is not the girl in the newspaper, but he still loves her.

[3] Monsù Traversen returns and tells Alberto that he has asked Anselmo for the hand of the latter’s daughter Doralice and is now on his way to the notary for a marriage contract. Alberto is horrified and resolves to seek the advice of the inn-keeper, Filippo, who himself has not had a chance, as he complains, to disabuse Lisetta, and now her father is about to leave the inn, so farewell to his hopes. Lisetta appears, still angry, and before he can begin to explain matters, she tells him that she never loved him. At last he manages to tell her that he has never been married and that he only pretended to be so in order to calm her father’s suspicions. Lisetta continues to abuse him, refusing to listen.

[4] In spite of their problems, Filippo and Lisetta are gradually reconciled, leaving the room united in love once more.

[5] Alberto, alone, muses on the confusion in his heart and his sufferings, for love, which brought him brief happiness and lengthy worries.

[6] He gives further expression to his feelings, so disturbed by love, jealousy and anger.

[7] Filippo is happy that everything has been settled. He sees Alberto and asks him why he is so agitated. Alberto blames Filippo for his lies, but Filippo tells him that he has spoken to Doralice who really loves him. Alberto is delighted, but Filippo tells him that the problem now is to prevent Don Pomponio leaving the inn and he has, therefore, challenged him to a duel in the garden. Alberto must disguise himself and offer a further challenge, on the grounds that Don Pomponio had promised him his daughter, and has now gone back on his word. He has challenged him for making the Quaker leave his inn. They go off together, Alberto with high hopes.

In the garden, Don Pomponio, attended by his servant Tommasino, bearing a sword, asks how he could be challenged to a duel by an inn-keeper, but nevertheless he had accepted, not that he is the slightest bit afraid, although it is clear that he would escape at once, if he could. Filippo appears and accuses Don Pomponio of having lost him business, as his behaviour has made the Quakers leave the inn; he tells Pomponio to draw his sword. Alberto appears, claiming the right to fight first, while Don Pomponio is happy to describe himself as a warrior of peace and not of war. Alberto declares his resolve to fight Don Pomponio to the death for having promised and then refused him his daughter. Don Pomponio will give him his daughter, but Alberto wants only Don Pomponio’s blood, as does Filippo. Neither Alberto nor Filippo will give way, ready to fight each other.

[8] Alberto and Filippo continue to argue as to which of them shall fight Don Pomponio first, while the latter is alternately relieved and alarmed, as the pretend discussion continues. Eventually they reach a satisfactory conclusion with the agreement that Don Pomponio is a coward, a cad, ridiculous traveller, a fool with the newspapers and generally an idiot, stipulations which Don Pomponio accepts.

[9] In a room in the inn Doralice is explaining to Lisetta their plan; Filippo has said they must disguise themselves as Turks, dressed similarly, and at the party he will come with Alberto, dressed as African gentlemen, with whom they must make their escape—to marriage. Don Pomponio makes his appearance, ready to go. Lisetta refuses, but Don Pomponio is furious with her. On Madama La Rose’s prompting, she pretends to faint, allowing the women to fuss around her, calling for water or smelling-salts.

[10] Coming to, Lisetta asks where she is and who has called her back from Elysium.

[11] There she was honoured by heroes of old, Romulus giving her flowers and Aeneas offering her coffee; they spoke of her, pitying her fate in the newspapers, the unhappy and simple daughter of a foolish parent. Don Pomponio, however, remains obdurate, in spite of the pleading of the women.

[12] Filippo, meanwhile, has been preparing his masquerade, certain that Don Pomponio will be afraid of the pretend Turks. Don Pomponio joins him, complaining at the arrival of Turks, lodged together with Christians. Filippo tells him that a great African lord has arrived to see Paris, the famous Abdallid Falzul Carababa, certainly looking for wives, purely to have them dance at masquerades. He advises Don Pomponio to don Turkish dress and take his daughter, without any argument, aware that he and Lisetta will already have escaped together. He goes on to tell Don Pomponio to pray that the Turk will fall in love with Lisetta and marry her.

[13] The match, Filippo continues, will be a famous one, and the Emperor of China, the Grand Sophie of Persia, the Caliph of Egypt, the Moghul of Chile and the bewhiskered heroes of Libya, Alzul Bala of Morocco, Ali of Baldugeri, Micazira of Guinea and the Bey of Tunis will come to honour Don Pomponio, lauded to the skies in the newspapers.

[14] The scene changes to a ball-room, lit for a celebration. Those present are masked, Lisetta in Turkish disguise, as is Alberto, with Doralice dressed like Lisetta and Filippo like Alberto. Pomponio is also in a ridiculous disguise. Love is in the air.

[15] Don Pomponio, as the others have been, is in a quandary, unable to distinguish between the masked dancers.

[16] He does not know which is his own daughter, while Alberto and Filippo are resolved to stay with their respective partners, and Doralice worries about her father’s reaction. Don Pomponio is anxious to find the Turkish suitor promised for his daughter and still searches for Lisetta. The others do their best to puzzle him further, while the lovers make off.

[17] Anselmo appears, seeking his daughter, with Traversen looking for his wife, while Don Pomponio still searches for Lisetta. Madama La Rose appears, announcing that the girls are now married and ask for pardon.

[18] Doralice and Alberto seek pardon of Anselmo and Lisetta and Filippo of Don Pomponio, and eventually the two fathers give their consent and pardon, with all resolved to remember the newspaper every day.

Keith Anderson


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