Hand Made Opera teams up with Opera Restor'd to revive an 18th century comedy based on Shakespeare's Pyramus and Thisbe
In 1745 the thing to see (and be seen at) in London was Italian opera,
especially Handel. It was immensely popular and there was little
enthusiasm for the homegrown product unless it was ballad opera like
The Beggar’s Opera or parodies that made fun of the fashionable
Italian product with its melodramatic plots, elaborate music and
scenic effects, and infamous, competitive divas.
J.F. Lampe, whose day job was that of a basoonist in
Handel’s orchestra, was particularly adept at this and his most famous
parodies such as Pyramus and Thisbe were very successful.
entrepreneur Mr Semibrief plans to revitalise English opera and make
his fortune by taking the successful Italian model and combining it
with an English text and singers (avoiding the necessity to “purchase
performers at exorbitant prices”). He takes his text from the
familiar comic interlude within A Midsummer Night’s Dream
(including a melancholy moon, a cowardly lion, a disgruntled wall and
two bumbling Roman lovers) and his music from J.F. Lampe, whose
Handelian parody The Dragon of Wantley, a few years earlier had
been a smash hit. When demonstrated to a potential patron
Pyramus and Thisbe reveals all the foibles of a full-blown
Italian production and doesn’t have quite the effect he
Opera Restor’d’s successful touring production is
being recreated for the York International Shakespeare Festival
by Hand Made Opera. The period instrument orchestra will
be directed by Opera Restor’d founder and acclaimed early music
expert, Peter Holman.
The Opera Restor’d/Hand Made Opera
production of J.F. Lampe’s Pyramus and Thisbe can
be seen at the York International Shakespeare Festival on
May 10 at the National Centre for Early Music, York.