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Vespetta is True to Her Name in Telemann Opera

The vainglorious and obtuse Pimpinone meets his match in The Unequal Marriage Between Vespetta and Pimpinone, or The Domineering Chambermaid, this Sunday (10/1) on The Lyric Stage.

The Unequal Marriage Between Vespetta and Pimpinone or The Domineering Chambermaid is the full title of Georg Telemann's one act opera which premiered in 1725. Hired as a chambermaid, Vespetta works her way into marriage with her somewhat obtuse and much older employer, and dominates him totally, demanding a somewhat unladylike freedom.

The opera has three sections. In the first, the young, attractive Vespetta is looking for a rich husband, and the much older Pimpinone fits the bill. He is looking for a maid, she applies, flatters him, an easy thing to do, as he is somewat delusional about the true reason for his appeal to Vespetta. He hires her to be his maid.

The second part finds her threatening to quit - the neighbors are talking, and the work Is too hard. He gives in, agrees to marry her complete with dowry, but she must remain his willing servant, which she promises to do.

But doesn't, as it turns out. She wants to go out and have a good time, and they threaten each other with words and furniture. Vespetta points out that she will get the dowry if they divorce, and he calls a truce.

Erna Roscher and Reiner Suss are the newlyweds, and Helmut Koch conducts the Berlin Chamber Orchestra

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