Cast announced for Bampton Classical Opera’s 2017 production of Salieri’s The School of Jealousy

Setting a sharply cynical libretto by Caterino Mazzol‡, this opera buffa was written in Venice and first performed at the
Teatro San MoisË in 1778. It was selected to inaugurate the Emperor Joseph
II’s new Italian opera troupe at the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1783, with an
outstanding cast including the star English soprano Nancy Storace (later
one of Mozart’s favourite sopranos and the first Susanna) as the Countess,
and Francesco Benucci (later Figaro and Guglielmo) as Blasio. Salieri
revised the score for these performances including new arias specially for
Nancy Storace, and the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte added some textual
adjustments. The opera made a huge impact and became one of the highlights
of Storace’s career.

La scuola de’ gelosi
was performed widely across Europe – from London to St Petersburg – for
several decades, and was praised warmly by Goethe. The opera’s great
success in Vienna almost certainly inspired Da Ponte and Mozart to create La scuola degli amanti which eventually became known by its
alternative title CosÏ fan tutte and there are many narrative
parallels between the two. In both fidelity and honesty are tested by means
of dangerous games and deceits, and the manipulative Lieutenant in Gelosi is a counterpart to Don Alfonso.

It was the first of Salieri’s works to be performed in London, in 1786: The Herald judged “it is the first lyric drama that may be termed
strictly good, whether we advert to the poem itself, the music, or the
performance” and the Morning Post called it a “masterly
composition” that “does great honour to Salieri, whose reputation as a
composer must rise infinitely in the musical world, from this very pleasing
specimen of his abilities”. For performances in 1780 at the court theatre
at Esterh·za, Haydn composed two insertion arias.

La scuola de’ gelosi
is enjoying a current revival across Europe, including performances this
year in Florence and Vienna and a recording by L’arte del mondo on Deutsche
Harmonia Mundi. Bampton has also selected the work to mark the bicentenary
of the death of Nancy Storace in 1817.

Plot outline

The Count Bandiera is a skilful philanderer, but takes a big risk when he
invites Ernestina, wife of a pathologically jealous businessman, out on a
shopping trip. A decidedly non-PC visit to a madhouse, fortune-telling
gypsies and the lessons taught by paintings are just some of the bizarre
situations encountered in this scintillating comedy of marital dis-harmony.


Countess Rhiannon Llewellyn (soprano)

Ernestina Nathalie Chalkley (soprano)

Carlotta Kate Howden (mezzo-soprano)

Count Alessandro Fisher (tenor)

Tenente Thomas Herford (tenor)

Blasio Matthew Sprange (baritone)

Lumaca Samuel Pantcheff (baritone)

Bampton Classical Opera
was founded in 1993 by its artistic directors, Gilly French and Jeremy
Gray, and stages less familiar works from the late Classical period, many
of which might not otherwise be heard. The performances are of the highest
musical quality, yet are relaxed and welcoming with fresh and accessible
English translations, and can be enjoyed even by those with little opera
experience. The company also provides valuable performance opportunities
for the country’s finest young professional singers, and hosts a Young
Singers’ Competition every two years.

Bampton Classical Opera
stages productions in rural venues in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire as
well as regularly in London at St John’s Smith Square. Other significant
venues and festivals have included Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, Buxton
Festival, Cheltenham Festival and Theatre Royal Bath. Amongst their many
performances have been UK premiËres of Bertoni Orfeo, Marcos
Portugal The Marriage of Figaro, Paer Leonora, BendaRomeo and Juliet, Gluck Il Parnaso confuso,Philemon and Baucis, Salieri Falstaff and La grotta di Trofonio.

The delightful Deanery Garden at Bampton provides a
charming and picturesque venue for open-air opera, with an excellent
natural acoustic. Westonbirt School is a spectacular
Victorian mansion, with extensive Grade I listed gardens: the performances
take place in the Orangery Theatre. Audiences are encouraged to bring their
own garden chairs and enjoy a pre-performance or interval picnic.

St John’s Smith Square
is the most historic of London’s concert halls and provides an outstanding
and appropriately eighteenth-century setting for this performance.

The School of Jealousy
performances, with free pre-performance talks:

The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire OX18 2LL

7.00 pm Friday 21 and Saturday 22 July

The Orangery Theatre, Westonbirt School, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8

5.00 pm Monday 28 August

St John’s Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA

7.00 pm Tuesday 12 September

image_description=Bampton Classical Opera 2017, Salieri’s The School of Jealousy
product_title=Partenope, English National Opera
product_id=Above: Portrait of Salieri by Joseph Willibrord M‰hler