Bampton Classical Opera scores another first with the Salieri opera The School of Jealousy
Bampton Classical Opera are serial premierists – they find neglected 18th century operas and give them their first British performances. This opera has been performed in the UK but that was back in 1786 and it hasn’t been performed since despite enjoying a new wave of popularity in Europe. Furthermore it is the bicentenary of the death of Nancy Storace, the famous 18th century Anglo-Italian soprano. She sang in a key Viennese performance of the opera which brought her to the attention of Mozart and he went on to write the role of the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for her. So it’s a good moment to revive the opera in a new translation by Bampton’s joint Artistic Directors Gilly French and Jeremy Gray.
First performed in 1778, this frivolously cynical comedy (rather a speciality of the librettist Caterino Mazzolà) was perfectly suited to the fashion of the period and quickly became one of the most popular operas of the age in different versions and sometimes in translation. The plot revolves around two married couples who variously feel deliciously attracted and/or horribly jealous of each other and are not above using jealousy to exact revenge where they believe it to be due. One couple’s cousin and their servants aid and abet the resulting intrigues and stratagems.
The School of Jealousy, a new translation of Salieri’s La scuola de’ gelosi by Bampton Classical Opera, premieres at The Deanery Gardens, Bampton on July 21. After two performances it will tour to Westonbirt (August 28) and St John's Smith Square London, (September 12).