Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

La finta giardiniera

28 June - 21 August 2014
Festival 2014
See La finta giardiniera on stage at Glyndebourne or a venue near you as part of our autumn Tour

‘I heard an opera buffa by that wondrous genius Mozart; it is called La finta giardiniera… He is bound to grow into one of the greatest musical composers who ever lived,’ wrote CFD Schubart in January 1775 after the premiere of Mozart’s eighth stage work – two weeks before his 19th birthday. In its musical depth, brilliant act finales, tangled love triangles, disguises, symmetries, mixed social classes and serious undercurrents La finta giardiniera displays the seeds of Mozart’s mature operatic comedies Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte.

With this new production by Frederic Wake-Walker, in his Glyndebourne Festival debut, La finta giardiniera becomes the ninth and earliest entry in the company’s Mozart canon. Long known only in a revised German Singspiel version, La finta giardiniera could not be produced in its original form until long-lost score materials were recently found and reconstructed

La finta giardiniera (The False Garden-Girl) is based on Goldoni’s play Pamela nubile, itself derived from Richardson’s novel Pamela. At its heart the opera presents seven characters in search of love. Through a process of exploring themselves as much as each other, their inquiry reveals what is real and what is ‘finta’. 

Christiane Karg, Aricia in Hippolyte et Aricie in Festival 2013, Joélle Harvey, Adina in L'elisir d'amore in Tour 2013 and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke, the Dancing Master in Ariadne auf Naxos in Festival 2013, return to anchor an expert Mozartean ensemble. Glyndebourne’s new Music Director Robin Ticciati conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

A new production for the 2014 Festival

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Supported by André and Rosalie Hoffmann Dunard Fund

Edited by Gernot Gruber and Alfred Orel (Neue Mozart-Ausgabe). Published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel represented by Faber Music, London

Act I

The Podestà is in love with Sandrina, his new garden attendant, much to the chagrin of his servant Serpetta, who is in love with him. Sandrina, however, is actually the disguised Violante, who is searching for her lover Belfiore who a year ago stabbed her and fled, believing her dead. Sandrina’s companion and supposed cousin, Nardo (really her servant, Roberto), is in love with Serpetta.

Arminda, the Podestà’s niece, has spurned her admirer Ramiro for a new suitor. Sandrina is distraught to discover that Arminda’s new suitor is none other than her own errant lover Belfiore. When Belfiore arrives, he recognises Sandrina as Violante, but she refuses to admit her true identity. As Arminda senses that something is awry and fears losing Belfiore to Sandrina, Ramiro’s hopes of winning Arminda back are rekindled. 

Act II

After dismissing Ramiro, Arminda confronts Belfiore about Sandrina. Nardo vainly woos Serpetta. Sandrina continues to deny that she is Violante, and goes so far as to tell Belfiore that she witnessed Violante’s death. When Ramiro arrives and accuses Belfiore of murdering
Violante, Sandrina finally admits that she is Violante. Left alone with Belfiore, she tells him that it was merely a ruse to save him, and he loses his reason. 

Her marriage to Belfiore threatened, Arminda abandons Sandrina in a desolate place. Nardo discovers the plot and leads a search for Sandrina. 

Confused and terrified, Sandrina also loses her reason and runs away. The search party arrives, but the darkness causes chaos. When Ramiro appears with a light, Belfiore and Sandrina find each other and imagine themselves to be Greek gods and the onlookers to be forest nymphs.

Act III 

The reunited Sandrina/Violante and Belfiore awaken, their senses restored, and decide that they must never part.

Creative team

Conductor Robin Ticciati
Director Frederic Wake-Walker
Designer Antony McDonald
Lighting Designer Lucy Carter


Don Anchise (Il Podestà) Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
Sandrina (La Marchesa Violante) Christiane Karg
Arminda Nicole Heaston
Count Belfiore Joel Prieto 
Ramiro Rachel Frenkel
Serpetta Joélle Harvey
Nardo (Roberto) Gyula Orendt

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Ramiro (Rachel Frenkel) & Arminda (Nicole Heaston), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Sandrina (Christiane Karg) and the ensemble, La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Ramiro (Rachel Frenkel), Arminda (Nicole Heaston) & Count Belfiore (Joel Prieto), La finta giardiniera, Photo: Tristram Kenton
The ensemble, La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Serpetta (Joélle Harvey) & Nardo (Gyula Orendt), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
The ensemble, La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Nardo (Gyula Orendt) & the ensemble, La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Serpetta (Joélle Harvey), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Ramiro (Rachel Frenkel), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Sandrina (Christiane Karg) and Count Belfiore (Joel Prieto), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Don Anchise (Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke), Serpetta (Joélle Harvey), La finta giardiniera Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
The ensemble, La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Count Belfiore (Joel Prieto) & Arminda (Nicole Heaston), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Sandrina (Christiane Karg), La finta giardiniera, Festival 2014, Photo: Tristram Kenton
Ramiro (Rachel Frenkel), Nardo (Gyula Orendt) & Serpetta (Joélle Harvey), La finta giardiniera, Photo: Tristram Kenton

'Emerges with irresistible charm'
Rated 4* by the Independent

'True love conquers all, with a touch of mirth, in Frederic Wake-Walker’s brilliantly inspired production'
Rated 4* by London Evening Standard 

‘…an evening of beguiling charm'
Rated 4* by the Sunday Express

‘By the time it ended, I just wanted to see it all again. ...Glyndebourne deserve the thanks of all of us for such an unusual treat.’
Rated 4* by the Daily Express

‘In his Glyndebourne debut, Frederic Wake-Walker shows considerable flair with a meta-theatrical approach that exposes the workings of the process at every turn, from the ostentatiously visible arms of an unseen stagehand reeling in the tabs on the false proscenium to a major slice of deconstruction later in the evening.’
Rated 4* by What's on Stage

'If you haven’t seen it before, this production is the perfect first one, as it’s stylishly set and superbly sung,'
Rated 4* by MusicOMH


What a marvellous production - inventive, creative, comedic, musically sublime (orchestra and singers, both) and judiciously pruned (well done musical and artistic directors). I confess I had to do a bit of homework before coming to this performance - familiarising myself with an opera that I confess I had never even heard of before - but this helped me appreciate the subtle charms of this piece (big thanks to Customer Support for directing me to an English Libretto; the Gyndebourne service really is second to none). Many thanks to all concerned for a memorable evening! I wish I could see it all again...

A hugely enjoyable day as ever with the bonus of a 'new' Mozart opera with excellent music superbly played.

Went to see Finta on the 7th August. What a treat!! It was fabulous and so funny. The director of this and the Don Giovanni that I saw in July has a wonderful sense of humour. Glyndebourne at its best!! Thank you to everyone involved.

'Are these the Elysian Fields?'asks the Count. Yes or as good as.

There are beautiful Mozartian melodies well sung under the brilliant direction of Robin Ticciati who gets maximum expressiveness out of the orchestra. But it is not an opera. it is long, maybe over long, series of arias about unrequited love. The staging and direction also fail to enhance the performance. Overall the music and the singing made this a great evening and worth the visit but perhaps not an opera to revisit in a hurry.

A great evening on 3rd August, and very much enjoyed by our guests as well as ourselves. Very good to see an unfamiliar work so well done, and great fun as well! Congratulations to Christiane Karg for carrying on and continuing to sing beatifully. Delighted to see that she will be continuing in the role.

7th August. Towards the end I got the impression Christiane Karg should still be recuperating in a hospital bed-she was clearly in some pain in spite of the massive knee brace she was wearing. But lovely to hear her radiant voice again. The rather watered-down but safe production lacked the snap of the earlier performances. It seems the technical people may be able to resuscitate the director's original vision simply by pre-slitting the paper scenery to ensure it fails in the right place. Good idea.
I heard some folk bemoaning the weak plot. Unfortunately Glyndebourne's synopsis makes matter worse. Actually the libretto rather cleverly makes the point that while love occurs frequently it is rarely reciprocated in the same degree. So out of 7 characters 5 remain disappointed. 'A new Cosi fan Tutte' was an early comment on this website. How very perceptive.

Very unsatisfying and uninvolving. Yes the singing and the orchestra are great and there's a few good tunes but that's it. The plot is totally incomprehensible and, now that I've read what it is, nonsense. The production seems like a desperate attempt to add some interest to an opera which would have been better forgotten

Saw La finta last Sunday. Brilliant, hope to have the chance to see it again at Glyndebourne! I take my hat off to the "fallen singer", brava, it was - unfortunately - just in time and the text fit the situation.

Hello - Thank you for your comments. On Sunday 3 August a performance of La finta giardiniera was stopped for a short time following a fall from one of the cast. Soprano Christiane Karg (playing the role of Sandrina) fell and dislocated her left knee. The performance was stopped temporarily whilst Christiane was seen by a GP who treated her immediately and was able to relocate the knee. Miss Karg, who was keen to continue her performance, sang from a seated position on stage. At the end of the performance Miss Karg received a wonderful reception from the audience, delighted that she had been able to continue her role. Christiane is doing well and will be performing the rest of the run as planned.

Wonderful performance on Sunday evening. Please put something on the website to tell us how Christane Karg was after her fall. She was very brave to carry on singing.

3rd August. Sickening. Having seen this twice before I immediately felt quite nauseous and was thinking of walking out. I do hope Christiane's knee ligaments are not as badly damaged as it initially appeared they might be. Whoever sings the role henceforth please, for the sake of the audience as well as the singer, drop this particular stunt however effective it may be theatrically. Having to re-make the scenery for each performance brings too much uncertainty.

Wonderful production and cast. Much better than reviews.

Lovely production of Finta: well-conceived and -sung. Actually the best Finta I've seen to date, and would come back for it. I do hope Glyndebourne releases a DVD of it.

A wholly magnificent production.

Glyndebourne was fabulous yesterday not just for the picnics outside but what happened inside. On my first visit maybe I would have preferred something a little better known but I did know this, I heard Mozart playing with music which has turned up in his later works. Its a fabulous production and I loved it and roared with laughter at the 'some mothers do have em' moment. I won't spoil it by explaining.

Fabulous playing, singing and acting and my only criticism would be that the last scene could have had less repetition. Apart from that - BRILLIANT

This production is not to be missed. Singing and acting all first class. Hope there is a DVD recording being made. Get a ticket and go

Three of my favourite symphonies by anyone not just by Mozart are the ones numbered 25, 28 and 29. These pre-date Giardiniera by over a year. I do hear a lot of the same sort of rather fragile and elusive melody in the opera. It definitely grows on you. Christiane Karg stars among a very strong cast and gets the most dramatic theatrical entry I have ever seen. Robin Ticciati conducts with great sensitivity. Not a bit too long done like this. Indeed I rather wished the cuts to be reinstated. Moving Nardo's big 'Figaro' aria to the last act is certainly a good idea.
There are still a lot of very fine Mozart operas which have never been seen at Glyndebourne......

In this wonderfully creative and imaginative production of a paired down La Finta, we are shown the seeds and seedlings of Mozart's genius. A real treat for the eyes, ears and soul. Don't listen to the critics and don't miss this production!

Wall to wall plaudits it seems. Although I have not yet seen it and have tickets for 5 summer performances I have just bought another in view of the positive feedback. Of course after The Yellow Sofa and Followers I was expecting great things and it looks like I shall not be disappointed. Can't wait.

A triumph. In its own way, as successful as the Billy Budd. Extremely sympathetic staging, in character but very witty. Losing the "Garden Girl" element (at least until the end), some recit and a top aria or two didn't seem to matter. Wake-Walker deserves huge credit for his boldness and even more for bringing it off. We saw it on Sunday 6th and it seemed to have improved from the opening night, Nardo was on top form, but all the singers were strong. Put Finta almost up there with Cosi. Unmissable.

The Music flowed and flowed, the cast were great both singing and acting. I loved it.

I booked this because I saw a delightful staged concert verso at the Barbican some years ago so I am looking forward to it

Last night opening of Finta.......Just brilliant!!!! What a team!!!! A lot of work has been put into this production and it shows.
If you have not purchased tickets buy some quick, and you will have a delightful evening.

A fantastic premier last night. Great production and great singing. Bravo.

I saw the production yesterday and thought it was terrific. A complete hoot, beautifully staged and performed and I was delighted by the acting. Very strong. It had a Brecht like feeling. Took me back to my youth at the Citizens in Glasgow. A forest with a solitary mantelpiece and a chandelier. And a man mouthing the words and acting the part while the singing was being done by another singer in the Foyer level seating. It was unintended (chest infection) but I thought rather added to the occasion, despite the loss of the singing from the intended chap whose face and demeanour was a song in itself.

What a first night.A must see. Like finding an undiscovered Shakespeare play or a new Mona Lisa. What a smash! The audience went wild. I'm stunned. Fantastic cast. Great set. Great 'pruning' and arrangement. I don't know what the critics will say, but as an audience member I say go and see for yourself. You won't be disappointed

My first visit to Glyndebourne. I hope it will be magical. La finta, less than a day away.

Just been to the dress rehearsal. Loved it. A real treat.

Surely a 'must see' at Glyndebourne, as it is set in a perfect garden. We saw it quite outstandingly produced in Lille this year (with colour-coded wellies?) and although there shouldn't be any kind of 'competition', Glyndebourne must be on its mettle.

I was in some trepidation about sitting through the whole of this having heard various of the recordings. The libretto, and hence the opera, does go on a bit. Wonderful music but rather a lot of recitative. Having read the programme book I am most relieved to hear that Ticciati has 'done a Beecham' and pruned some inessential arias and recitative and done a bit of re-ordering to clarify and illuminate the plot.
It is good when the programme actually tells you what is being presented. Sadly this rarely happens even at Glyndebourne and certainly not at ROH. I see no reference in the Glyndebourne programme to the Don Giovanni version being played this year.

I always think of this as the fourth da Ponte opera as the style of the writing is so similar. Da Ponte would have kept the plot simpler though. I am greatly looking forward to it this summer and in the revivals. Surprising that ticket sales have been a bit slow.

is there two places for la finta gardiniera (2 of july)
thank you

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