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Haydn and Vivaldi this week on The Lyric Stage

This week we feature Franz Josef Haydn and Antonio Vivaldi. Cecelia Bartoli will sing two Vivaldi arias, but first, Haydn's first comic opera, La Canterina. He wrote it in 1766 as an intermezzo, a relatively brief comic interlude between the acts of an Opera Seria. He was 34, and employed by the Count Esterhazy living on that nobleman’s remote estate.

A young singer, Gasparina, and her mother, Apollonia, are getting along in the world by charming men. Gasparina’s singing teacher, Don Pelagio, tries to gain her love with gifts and by giving her free housing. But Gasparina has no interest in him besides his teaching. When she is also wooed by the son of a wealthy merchant, Don Ettore, Don Pelagio is furious and tries to throw her out of her rent free house. But through cunning and manipulations, including a fainting spell, she changes Don Pelagio’s mind, and both he and Don Ettore lavish her with money and diamonds, which amazingly restore her to health. In the end, the men recognize Gasparina's greed, but nonetheless willingly hand over their riches, and Pelagio invites gives her back his rent free house.

The cast of four includes Ingrid Kertesi, Andrea Ulbrich, Antal Pataki and Josef Mukk, with Pal Nemeth conducting the Capella Sevaria.

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.