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Il Turco in Italia

→ Dramma buffo in zwei Akten

Cast 03.07.2022

Conductor Gianluca Capuano
Production Jean-Louis Grinda
Stage Design Rudy Sabounghi
Costume Design Jorge Jara
Lighting Design Laurent Castaingt
Video Julien Soulier
Selim Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Donna Fiorilla Cecilia Bartoli
Don Geronio Nicola Alaimo
Don Narciso Barry Banks
Prosdocimo Giovanni Romeo
Zaida Maria José Lo Monaco
Albazar David Astorga
Gastorchester Les Musiciens du Prince-Monaco
Gastchor Choeur de l'Opéra de Monte-Carlo


Act 1

Inside the roma camp on the outskirts of Naples, and despite encouragement from her friend Albazar, the Turk Zaida keeps her distance from the merriment and singing. She is mourning her lost love. The poet Prosdocimo appears; he is look- ing for the ideal material for his dramma buffo. Bored by the beautiful Fiorilla’s capricious behaviour he is delighted to discover this colourful assembly where he will undoubtedly find more authentic inspiration (no. 1: Introduzione »Nostra patria è il mondo intero«). Don Geronio, the unhappy husband of Fiorilla who has multiple lovers, arrives at the camp. He is seeking a fortune teller to read his palm, but the roma tease him and their mockery forces him to flee (no. 2: Geronioʼs cavatina »Vado in traccia dʼuna zingara«).

Prosdocimo approaches Zaida and asks her why she is so unhappy. She tells him her story: she had been the favourite of the Turkish Prince Selim but was unfairly slandered by her harem companions who were jealous of her privileges. Sentenced to death by Selim, her life was spared thanks to Albazar who intervened on her behalf and found her a safe hiding place in the roma camp disguised as a rom. The Poet informs her that a Turkish prince will shortly be sailing into Naples and that he could certainly intercede for her with Selim.

Fiorilla is walking on the beach with her friends telling them how boring it would be if she remained faithful to her elderly husband (no. 3a: cavatina by Fiorilla »Non si dà follia maggiore«). The Turkish prince’s ship has anchored and its occupants disembark from a small boat (no. 3b: chorus »Voga, voga, a terra, a terra«). The mysterious prince is none other than Selim who rejoices at landing on Italian soil. Selim falls under Fiorillaʼs charm at first sight. In turn Fiorilla immediately succumbs to his advances. They leave arm in arm (no. 3c: cavatinetta »Bella Italia, alfin ti miro« and duettino Selim/Fiorilla »Che bel turco / Serva! – Servo«).

Prosdocimo is observing this turn of events with great interest when he is joined by Narciso, Fiorillaʼs latest lover, who laments her sudden lack of passion for him. Narciso soon understands the reason for her change of heart when a furious Geronio arrives: he has just seen his wife in his own home with a Turkish prince. He reveals the prince’s name to them: Selim, Zaidaʼs former lover. Prosdocimo, who had despaired of finding the plot for his comedy, is over the moon at this wonderful imbroglio (no. 4: trio »Un marito scimunito!«).

At home, Fiorilla has coffee served to a besotted Selim. He confides to her that he loved someone before, but that she broke his heart. Their intimate conversation is interrupted by Geronio. Fiorilla prevents the two men from going at each other’s throat by persuading her husband to kiss Selimʼs cloak as a sign of respect. But the situation degenerates even further when Narciso arrives. Under the nose of both her husband and lover, who are furious, Fio- rilla manages to reassure Selim that he is her only true love. Selim arranges an assignation with her that same evening on the beach (no. 5: quartet »Siete turchi, non vi credo«) .

The Poet advises Geronio to be harsher with his wife who just at that moment appears. Geronio follows the advice and chastises Fiorilla. But once more she turns the tables by whispering sweet words to her bewildered husband, even promising to take a thousand lovers as he is so cruel to her. She chases poor Geronio away who can no longer ignore how uncontrollable his young wife has become (no. 6: duet »Per piacere alla signora«).

Prosdocimo is overjoyed that his play is now almost finished, but asks himself: one act is too short. Shouldn’t it be divided in two? His reflections are interrupted by his characters. On the beach, close to the roma camp, Selim is waiting for Fio- rilla. Inevitably he first runs into Zaida. He realises that his jealousy was totally unjustified and their love for each other is immediately rekindled. Fiorilla arrives wearing a veil, followed by Narciso who dreams of winning her back, and lastly Geronio who is watching her. A quarrel breaks out between Zaida and Fiorilla, who are now rivals. The Poet revels in this new and unexpected development while the other characters, who are trying to interfere, end up capitulating (no. 7: finale I »Gran maraviglie«).

Act 2

The Poet is sitting at a table at an inn with Geronio. Selim enters; he is still in love with Fiorilla. When Geronio admits to him that he is tired of his marriage the Prince offers to buy his wife, in keeping with Turkish traditions. Geronio is indignant and replies that in such situations the Italian tradition stipulates that the husband should punch the lover on the nose... (no. 8: duet, »Dʼun bellʼuso di Turchia«).

Fiorilla is singing about the joys of love with her companions. She is deter- mined to take revenge on Zaida (no. 9: chorus and cavatina »Non vʼè piacer perfetto / Se il zefiro si posa«).
Fiorilla arranges to meet Selim in the presence of Zaida and order the Prince to choose between his two lovers. In the event he is indecisive and Zaida leaves in disgust. Finally, after a long argument Selim and Fiorilla reconcile (no. 10: duet »Credete alle femmine«).

Prosdocimo finds out that Selim is planning to seize the opportunity of a masked ball to abduct Fiorilla and flee to Turkey. Prosdocimo informs Geronio of the plan and tells him to disguise himself as Selim in order to lure his wife away. Narciso overhears their conversation and decides to disguise himself as Selim also, thus hoping to lure Fiorilla away for himself (no. 11: accompanied recitative and Narcisoʼs aria »Intesi, ah! tutto intesi / Tu seconda il mio disegno«). Prosdocimo complains about Geronioʼs stupidity which could ruin his play. Albazar arrives and Prosdocimo instructs him to find a disguise for Zaida. Albazar indulges in tender thoughts about Zaida, but he realises he could never win her over (no. 12: Albazarʼs aria «Ah, sarebbe troppo dolce«).

The masked ball begins to the sound of a chorus singing the glory of love (no. 13: chorus »Amor la danza mova«). The disguises and masks cause all kinds of misunderstandings: Fiorilla leaves with Narciso thinking that he is in fact Selim, and Selim does the same with Zaida, believing she is Fiorilla. Geronio is utterly confused, unable to tell which of the two women is his wife. He curses the Turk who is the cause of all this confusion, while both couples call him crazy. The couples go their separate ways, leaving Geronio alone and in despair (no. 14: quintet »Oh, guardate che accidente!«).

Prosdocimo and Geronio find out that Selirn and Zaida have reconciled and are preparing to leave for Turkey. The Poet advises the elderly husband to call Fiorilla’s bluff and begin false divorce proceedings against her. The strategy is a success. When Fiorilla receives the letter ordering her to return permanently to her parents in Sorrente, she realises that her behaviour has cost her everything: fortune, comfort, friends, but above all her husband, her tranquillity and her hon- our. Admitting the error of her ways, she puts on her simplest attire and prepares to leave, devastated by the pain the news will cause her parents (no. 15: accorm- panied recitative and Fiorilla’s aria »I vostri cenci vi mando / Squallida veste e bruna«). Following the Poetʼs advice, Geronio waits until he is sure that Fiorillaʼs confession is sincere before meeting with her. Husband and wife fall into each otherʼs arms. Accompanied by the Poet, who has at last found the outcome of his plot, and Narciso who also asks for Geronioʼs forgiveness, they attend Selimʼs and Zaidaʼs departure for Turkey (no. 6: finale 11 »Son la vite sul campo appassita / Rida a voi sereno il Cielo«).


Apart from making a brief appearance at a concert, the exceptional artist Cecilia Bartoli has never...