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The Sunday Opera: Leonardo Vinci's "Li zite 'ngalera" from La Scala

We’re off to La Scala in Milan for this week’s Sunday Opera (8/13 3:00 p.m.) and their recent production of Leonardo Vinci’s 1722 comedy “Li zite ‘ngalera.”

The story found in the libretto by Bernardo Saddumene is somewhat familiar in that a young man, Carlo (Francesca Aspromonte), abandons his love, Belluccia (Chiara Amaru) in Sorento, and heads off to the Amalfi Coast where he falls in love with Ciomma (Francesca Pia Vitale). Bellucia is having none of this, and she disguises herself as a man to head off after him. Once in Amalfi, she attracts many young women who fall in love with her as does Ciomma much to the aggravation of Carlo.

As the story progresses, Belluccia’s father, Federico (Filippo Morace), arrives in Amalfi to exact his revenge on Carlo, but the still disguised Belluccia intercedes on Carlo’s behalf because she finds that she still loves him. Things ultimately work out, and we last see the reunited lovers aboard a ship, sailing happily homeward to Sorento.

Other members of this cast from April of this year include Alberto Allegrezza, Filippo Mineccia, Raffaele Pe, Antonio Siragusa, and Maroc Filippo Romano. Andrea Marcon conducts the La Scala Orchestra and Chorus.

Since we’re off to sea at the end of the opera, we’ll stay there just a bit longer as we fill the afternoon with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 1, “A Sea Symphony.” Said to be the first symphony that included choral singing as a textural part of the composition, it includes passages from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”

Those passages are: “Song of the Exposition” and “Song for All Seas, All Ships” in the first movement. The second movement uses text from “On the Beach at Night Alone.” The third movement includes the entirety of “After the Sea-ship,” and the final movement includes “Passage to India.”

This recording features soprano Joan Rodgers, baritone Christopher Maltman along with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Paul Daniel.

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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