Sunday, June 16, 2019

Joseph Haydn, L'infedeltà delusa (1773)


That's "deceit outwitted," a title which really doesn't relate to anything in the opera.  Like the Rameau opera, I watched this with French subtitles, but there's a big difference: in the former, the subtitles were just a transcription of the libretto; hence, eighteenth-century French. But here, the libretto of course is in Italian, so the subtitles just translate it to contemporary French--which is just a shitload easier for me to understand. So that's good.

You have seen this plot before, more or less, probably more: Sandrina is a peasant girl whose father has arranged for her to marry Nencio, a rich guy. But she and another peasant, Nanni, are in love with each other, and also, Nanni's sister Vespina is in love with Nencio. Via a series of disguises, Vespina is successfully able to manipulate the situation so everyone gets married to the right person. And that is that.

A perfectly legit plot for a great comic opera, but I'm sorry to say, I found this really disappointing. This may have been related to the production, which was a very confusing thing with a glass box in the middle of the stage with ladders in it and the floor throughout most of it being littered with what appeared to be sugar cubes; also, I think the cast was really just okay at best--more charisma might've sold it better. But I don't know; I found the stuff with Vespina's disguises pretty tedious--an effort at zaniness that did not, for me, work--so I'm not sure. It doesn't have the sort of fun comic music that Orlando did.

I am undeterred, though, and will see more Haydn operas if I can find them. You know, he wrote almost all of them for the entertainment of the fantastically rich Eszterházy family, for whom he was court musician for many years. JUST IMAGINE. I'm sure they got up to some shady shit in their time--basically a prerequisite for amassing such a fortune--but THEY EMPLOYED JOSEPH HAYDN! Whatever else they did, this was a gift to the world. What the fuck do our plutocrats do today that has any redeeming qualities whatsoever? Shooting cars into space doesn't count.

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