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Isabel Rodríguez - La Serva Padrona
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La Serva Padrona
Forget your preconceptions of the rotund, busty, middle-aged opera singer. The genre has its young and sexy side as well. I’m clearly not talking about the Anna Nicole Smith opera that stunned the traditionalists and trendies (in different ways) at London’s Royal Opera House last month.
No, rather I mean performers such as the gorgeous Catalan soprano Isabel Rodrígez (pictured above, evidently) who takes the lead role in this month’s staging of the baroque chamber opera La Serva Padrona (The Servant Turned Mistress).
To be honest, the eponymous servant isn’t really made for your Montserrat Caballé types. Telling the story of a sprightly and cunning young maid who has her aged boss wound around her little finger (a key piece of the action involves the woman effectively taking the poor old man hostage, locking him into his own house), this short opera was originally written as the intermission entertainment for a full-length piece. Imagine—no taking a break for a glass of wine and packet of Revels in 1733. Uh-uh. Just taking a break for MORE opera.
La Serva Padrona (written by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, who died just three years after its premiere at the horribly young age of 26) is regarded as the forerunner of comedic opera (opera buffa) as well as helping to bring the genre to the common man, with its tiny three-person cast (one of whom is mute throughout) and simple tale of manipulation and marriage. Add to this the fact that this version will be performed with the orchestra and cast in full Baroque regalia, and you have a promising-sounding night at the opera.
April 9th-10th, 2011; Teatre de Sarrià. More info here