La finta giardiniera
A new production from the 2014 Festival
The first performance of this opera took place in January 1775, a few weeks before the composer’s 19th birthday. Mozart’s brilliance flowered astonishingly early and all his brightest powers of invention are on display here.
Before the opera begins Sandrina, the Marchesa Violante, has been attacked and left for dead by her jealous lover, Belfiore. Disguising herself as a gardener, she enters the employment of a small-town mayor and the scene is set for a complex tale of mistaken identity, thwarted passion and heartbreak.
Mozart contrives dazzling music around a plot which alternates between high comedy and serious drama. Seven characters, each in search of true love, enter a maze of delusion and confusion, from which they emerge sadder but wiser.
There is a deep uneasiness that lies beneath all this complexity, tipping some of the characters into genuine madness. Is Sandrina mad to want Belfiore back when he has tried to kill her? Does she try to drive him insane as part of the price he has to pay for their ultimate reconciliation? Does love make everyone crazy?
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
The performance lasts approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes, including one interval of 20 minutes.
Edited by Gernot Gruber and Alfred Orel (Neue Mozart-Ausgabe). Published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel represented by Faber Music, London.
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.
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 attempts to arrest Belfiore for the murder of 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 plots with Serpetta to abandon 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.
The reunited Sandrina/Violante and Belfiore awaken, their senses restored, and decide that they must never part.
Conductor Christopher Moulds
Director Frederic Wake-Walker
Designer Antony McDonald
Lighting Designer Lucy Carter
Don Anchise (Il Podestà) Timothy Robinson
Sandrina (La Marchesa Violante) Rosa Feola
Arminda Eleonore Marguerre
Belfiore Enea Scala
Ramiro Hanna Hipp
Serpetta Eliana Pretorian
Nardo Mattia Olivieri
The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra
‘Frederic Wake-Walker’s inspired production captures the Midsummer Night’s Dream quality in designer Antony McDonald’s crumbling rococo pleasure dome.’
'...the time flew by in a blast of youthful energy. Frederic Wake-Walker has put down a marker here with a virtuoso display of flair and creativity.'
What's on Stage
'...a deliciously light-hearted evening. Don't expect to take it too seriously – but do see it and join in the fun.'