Le baruffe, Opera by G. Battistelli
The famous modern classical composer Giorgio Battistelli, a native of Rome, has a special relationship to Venice. After years as musical director of the popular Biennale, he took a commission from Gran Teatro La Fenice to turn one of the most Venetian plays, written in the local dialect, into an opera. The result is Le baruffe, an opera about life, love and conflict resolution in the small fishing community of Chioggia, a backwater suburb of the City of Love that is teeming with life. Full of belly laughs and genuinely human and endearing moments, the opera delivers a truly special experience to fans of classical music and Venice alike.
The source text for Battistelli’s opera Le baruffe is Carlo Goldoni’s play Le baruffe chiozzotte. At the time of its premiere in January 1762 it pulled audiences in with its focus on real life and its near-farcical representations of the fishermen’s emotions and struggles. However, through the slapstick comedy and some of the easy laughs, Goldoni managed to inject some genuine humanity and emotion into his story that ensured its longevity through the years. Modern revivals of the play, as well as Battistelli’s operatic rendition, minimise the exaggerated comedic devices in favour of genuine emotion and stirring social commentary. This is not to say that Le baruffe is not funny anymore – quite the contrary! Among the laughs, however, audiences at La Fenice will also get to touch the characters’ hearts, too.
Battistelli’s opera takes us into the world of Chioggia where the fishermen deal with their everyday problems with a healthy dose of laughter and silliness and where everyone is on the lookout for true love. Under the supervision of community leaders Padron Toni and his wife Madonna Pasqua, the young ones in the group are exploring their love options and often overreaching, which is bound to stir trouble. Will the weary administrator Isidoro manage to tame the hot-blooded fishermen before someone gets seriously hurt? Gran Teatro La Fenice is staging a proper Venetian fest this season.