Tickets via the Albuquerque Museum – just book a museum visit at 7pm – your museum admission includes the opera.
Isabella / Laura Soto Bayomi
Bertrando / Taylor Comstock
Ormondo / James Eder
Tarabotto / William Huyler
Batone / Jonathan Patton
Conductor / Anthony Barrese
Performed in Italian
Running time: 90 Minutes
Ten years before the action begins, Isabella was happily married to Duke Bertrando. Ormondo, a confidant of the Duke, was outraged when she rejected his advances, and he slandered her reputation by convincing the Duke that she had been unfaithful. Under Ormondo’s orders, Batone abducted her and cast her adrift on the sea. She was assumed dead, but was rescued by the miner, Tarabotto, who then convinced everyone she was his niece, ‘Nisa’.
As the opera begins, Tarabotto is informed that Duke Bertrando is expected to visit the area. Tarabotto sees Isabella with a picture of the Duke, and she reveals her identity and past to him. Duke Bertrando’s visit to the mine presents her with an opportunity to convince the Duke of her innocence, and Tarabotto promises to help her.
The Duke arrives with Ormondo and Batone. The Duke is filled with memories of Isabella, whom he still loves even though he thought her unfaithful. When the Duke goes off with Tarabotto to inspect the area, Batone asks ‘Nisa’ for some water. She immediately recognizes him as her abductor, and he is shocked at her resemblance to Isabella.
Tarabotto returns to tell Isabella she must be the one to give the Duke a map of the mine. Tarabotto watches Bertrando’s reaction as he sees ‘Nisa,’ who reminds him so much of the wife he still loves. Meanwhile Ormondo and Batone plot to abduct ‘Nisa’ that night, but Tarabotto overhears their plan. Bertrando catches them in the act and Isabella’s true identity is revealed. Bertrando and Isabella are happily reunited.
Rossini, The Teatro San Moisè, and the Beginning of it All
By the time the eighteen-year old Gioachino Rossini made his professional debut in 1810 with La cambiale di matrimonio at Venice’s Teatro San Moisè, the theater was one of the oldest functioning opera houses in a city that boasted around a dozen of them.
The San Moisè opened as a prose theater in 1620, and had its first public opera twenty years later (Monteverdi’s L’Arianna). Located next to the church of San Moisè at the site of what is now the Bauer hotel, the theater was set almost exactly halfway between Venice’s largest theater (Teatro La Fenice) and its largest area of religious, political, and touristic activity (the Piazza San Marco).
It was always one of the smaller opera houses of the city with around 700 seats, making it suitable for the intimacy of opera (at the time, very few operas in the world had more than 1,000 seats). In its earliest years, the theater produced a heavy dose of serious opera. When La Fenice opened in 1792, the San Moisè began introducing more and more one-act comedies (or farse), and the season Rossini debuted with La cambiale di matrimonio, the ratio of one-act to two-act operas was 10:1.
During the short period in which Rossini composed his five one-act farse (1810-1813), the San Moisè was already in decline and looking for ways to save money. One-act operas, with their small cast, lack of chorus, and simple sets were ideally suited to this purpose. Writing about this period later in life, Rossini said that
“…it is easy to see that everything tended toward facilitating the debut of a beginner maestro, who, better than in an opera of four or five acts, in a farsa could sufficiently display his innate imagination (if Heaven had granted it to him!!) and his technique (if he had learned it).”
Rossini straddled the period between when operas were composed, performed, and forgotten, and the establishment of a standard entrenched repertoire. In many ways his second one-act L’inganno felice(1812) is the beginning of this. By far his most popular one-act opera during its time, it still held the public’s attention nine years later (an eternity in 19th century operatic terms), when it was Rossini’s 3rd most produced opera in all of Italy, and Il barbiere di Siviglia and La cenerentola. This in a year when out of 373 opera productions in Italy, 150 were by Rossini.
The other two one-act operas for the San Moisè in 1812 (La scala di seta and L’occasione fa il ladro) were decidedly less sucessful that La cambiale di matrimonio and L’inganno felice. His final opera for Teatro San Moisè (Il signor Bruschino, 1813) failed completely at the premiere, and yet it is his most widely performed one-act opera today.
Ten days after Il signor Bruschino opened at the San Moisè, Rossini’s Tancredi premiered at La Fenice. Three months later, his L’italiana in Algeri premiered at yet another Venetian theater, the Teatro San Benedetto. These last two operas sealed his fate – and his international reputation – a process begun only four years earlier in the Teatro San Moisè with La cambiale di matrimonio.