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The Sunday Opera: Two by Wolf-Ferrari, "Il donne curiose" & "Il segreto di Susanna"

How much do you trust your significant other? On this week’s Sunday Opera (3/15 3:00 p.m.), we’re going to hear two stories where people went out of their way to prove the duplicity of their partners with comic results and happy endings, both from the pen of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari.

We’ll begin with a work from 1903 entitled “Le donne curiose” (“The Curious Women”) where a group of women go to incredible lengths to find out just what their lovers do in their “men only” club. Based on a play by Carlo Goldoni, the cast includes Rena Garazioti, Edda Vincenzi, Cecilia Fusco, Silvana Zanolli, Renato Capecchi, Pietro Bottazzo, Guido Fabbris, Alfredo Mariotti, and Renato Cesari. Oliviero De Fabritis conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatre la Fenice.

Our second work is one of Wolf-Ferrari’s best-known operas, the one-act work, “Il segreto di Susanna.” “Susanna’s Secret” premiered in 1909 and did appear at the Metropolitan Opera beginning in 1912, but it’s not been seen there since 1922.

Here, it’s the early 20th century, and Susanna does her best to keep her secret away from her new husband, Count Gil, but the fact that she goes out for long walks and both her clothes and their drawing room smell of cigarette smoke, drive Count Gil to the belief that she is seeing someone else who is, horror of all horrors, a smoker! The truth is much more mundane that that, but Count Gil turns himself inside out to try to discover the other man vying for Susanna’s affection.

In this recording, we’ll hear Judith Howarth as Susanna and Angel Odena as Count Gil with Friedrich Haider leading Oviedo Filarmonia.

We’ll round out our time together with more music of Wolf-Ferrari including his Arabesques in E Minor on an Aria by Ettore Tito and his Concertino in A Flat Major for Cor Anglais and Small Orchestra.

Please tune in for an afternoon of happy endings and delightful music.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.
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