For the 1775 Munich carnival (which featured masked balls, sex, gambling and opera), Mozart, previously the prodigy, but now an teenager looking for a job, composed the comic opera La finta giardiniera (The Girl Disguised as a Gardener, The False Garden-girl, or the Pretended Gardener; also, Die verstellte Gärtnerin or Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe).
The libretto of Mozart’s early opera lacks the skill and maturity of Lorenzo da Ponte’s Così fan tutte. Men and women are caricatured. There is confusion, madness, insanity. The mayor’s gardener is a lady-in-disguise seeking her lover who has attempted to murder her and is now engaged to a ‘cow’. That’s upstairs. Downstairs, the assistant gardener chases the housemaid who the mayor is sexually abusing. Deep in a forest, everyone gropes the wrong person.
The beautiful arias include: Dolce d’amor compagna for a castrato (today a countertenor aria or contralto aria); Geme la tortorella, a forerunner of the Countess’s music in The Marriage of Figaro; and Vorrei punirti indegno, a ‘rage’ aria, a forerunner of The Magic Flute’s Queen of the Night and Don Giovanni’s Donna Anna.
About Short Guides to Great Operas
Short Guides to Great Operas written by Michael Steen, author of the acclaimed The Lives and Times of the Great Composers, are concise, entertaining, and easy-to-read books about opera. They are packed with useful information and informed opinion, helping to make you a truly knowledgeable opera-goer, and so maximising your enjoyment of a great musical experience.
Each at around the price you pay for a standard opera-house programme, and available from all popular ebook retailers and ereaders, they are the perfect accompaniment to a night at an opera – whether that’s at home, or at the opera house, or in the cinema for opera on screen, such as ROH Live, Met Opera HD Live, or Glyndebourne Festival in cinemas.
Also available: Great Operas – A Guide to 25 of the World’s Fin...