ROSSINI: La Scala di Seta

As this production of Swiss television demonstrates, however, Scala is a sparkling comedy with
its typical plot and familiar characters well depicted and a melodious froth that never pauses long
enough to let us wonder if we haven’t seen these situations before: A girl has married to
disoblige her guardian; her secret husband visits her each night by means of a “silken ladder” she
lets down from her window. The guardian wishes her to marry a self-important nobleman; she
fends him off by pretending to flirt with an egotistical servant; everyone misunderstands
something overheard at the wrong door, and there is a happy ending with plenty of marriages to
go around. At 97 minutes, it could easily play a double bill with some other short cheerful piece,
such as Il Cambiale di Matrimonio or Il Signor Bruschino.

The cast here, unfamiliar to me aside from Ernesto Palacio’s suave Dorvil (Giulio’s secret
husband), rampage winningly through a large, handsome wood-veneer set, something like a
doll’s house, but I suspect it could all be boiled down to one room with several doors. Carmen
Lavani’s rather stormy looks are tempered by a full-voiced but agile soprano for Giulia; Mario
Chiappi’s woolly bass suits the bluster of her suitor, Blancas; and Roberto Coviello is especially
energetic and absurd as the servant who readily misconstrues everything said to him, the better to
keep the whirling plot from slowing down and falling over. Marc Andreae and the Orchestra
della Svizzera Italiana also deserve credit for keeping the score fresh and appealing.

John Yohalem

image_description=Gioacchino Rossini: La Scala di Seta
product_title=Gioacchino Rossini: La Scala di Seta
product_by=Tullio Pane, Carmen Lavani, Tiziana Tramonti, Ernesto Palacio, Mario Chiappi, Robert Coviello, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Marc Andreae (conductor), Filippo Crivelli (stage director).
product_id=Opus Arte OAF4023D [DVD]