Il matrimonio segreto, Opera by D. Cimarosa
Il matrimonio segreto, Domenico Cimarosa’s memorable and lasting success in the world of opera, had a most auspicious premiere. On 7 February 1792 at the Imperial Hofburg Theatre in Vienna, audiences went wild for the classic opera buffa. Among them was Emperor Leopold II himself. The performance impressed him so much that he allegedly wined and dined the cast, after which he requested they run through the whole opera again that very night. The rest, as they say, is history, and Il matrimonio segreto’s success spread through the rest of Europe, making it one of the great comic operas that were mentioned in the same breath as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s. This season, Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice is offering Cimarosa’s greatest work.
The roots of Il matrimonio segreto (The Secret Marriage in English) go back to the play by George Colman the Elder and David Garrick, The Clandestine Marriage (1766). Giovanni Bertati produced the Italian libretto. The opera’s plot is a complex web of familial and romantic relations that get increasingly entangled and twisted as the action progresses. Geronimo, a well-off Bolognian, has two daughters, Elisetta and Carolina. His sister Fidalma and his secretary Paolino help him run his household and his businesses. Paolino and Carolina have been secretly married and yearn to stop hiding, but their freedom depends on Elisetta, the older daughter, getting married first. Count Robinson, an impoverished nobleman, agrees to come for a visit and meet the young lady, however, one look at Carolina and he is instantly smitten with her. Geronimo is willing to marry off his younger daughter first, but this would make both Paolino and Elisetta unhappy, for their own reasons. Meanwhile Fidalma is secretly pining for the young secretary, adding one more problem to his already tricky situation.
Cimarosa’s timeless hit Il matrimonio segreto delivers the laughs and the memorable melodies once again at Gran Teatro La Fenice.