Thursday, 16 April 2015

Salieri's La grotta di Trofonio

Antonio Salieri
You have probably never heard of Salieri's opera La grotta di Trofonio, I certainly hadn't. Surprisingly, for a composer best known for not poisoning Mozart, it is a comic opera written in 1785 whilst Salieri was the director of the Italian opera in Vienna. It was premiered at the Burgtheater and the plot is reckoned to have influenced Lorenzo da Ponte when writing the libretto of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte (which was premiered at the Burgtheater in 1790).  The Trofonio of the title is a magician whose cave can change people's personalities, two couples have this happen to them with the usual consequences.

The opera is being revived by the ever enterprising Bampton Classical Opera with a cast which includes Matthew Stiff in the title role and Anna Starushkevych, Aoife O'Sullivan, Christopher Turner and Nicholas Merryweather as the young lovers. There are performances at the Deanery Garden, Bampton (17, 18 July 2015), Westonbirt, Gloucestershire (31 August) and St John's Smith Square (15 September). The opera will be directed by Jeremy Gray and conducted by Paul Wingfield who was a Jette Parker Young Artist at Covent Garden from 2012-2014.

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