IL  TEATRO
ALLA  MODA

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Andrew Lawrence-King's new dramatisation of the hilarious book written in 1720 by composer Benedetto Marcello

satirising the music of Vivaldi and his contemporaries.

 

The LIBRETTO compiled from Marcello's book,

The MUSIC stolen according to his instructions,

The ACTION following his directions.

A delightfully irreverent introduction to Early Opera

for young audience-members,

a hilarious romp for aficionados.

 

LISTEN HERE... Epilogue from Il Teatro alla Moda 

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The modern-day audience sees an 18th-century Venetian theatre-house from the Backstage, as Poet and Composer Aldiviva (spot the anagram?) stages his latest opera "MURDER OF AN IMPRESARIO", helped and hindered by the Virtuoso soloist (played by a Counter-Tenor), a mad Primadonna (Soprano), her gallant escort, Signor Procolo (Tenor), and her Mother (Mezzo). There are flying Arrows, sudden Earthquakes, Thunder & Lightning, the Extras and (how could the Theatre survive without him?) a Bear (Bass).

 

The Action faithfully follows Marcello’s farcical instructions, with his recommended Company of six singers. The lordly Impresario is the Bear’s alter ego. The Baritone takes on Marcello’s entire cast of caricature-roles: Poet; Composer; Lawyer; Prompter; Tenor, Bass & Counter-Tenor Soloists; Buffo Comedian; Cellist; Stage Extra; the Singing-Teacher who only knows one ornament; the Carpenter who removes all the chairs just as the rehearsal is supposed to start, and has to be bribed to put them back again; Old Simon who demands extra money for every task, but will play the Bear’s role for free; the Tailor who is still sewing costumes even as the Performance starts; the Ticket-Seller who overcharges strangers but lets his friends in free; the Barman, himself a keen amateur singer; even the Mother of the Virtuoso, who squabbles with the Primadonna’s Mother.  

Marcello gives strict instructions not to explain the Plot to the performers, but the Copyists who prepare individual parts from Aldiviva’s precious manuscript sub-contract their work to the Bear, who re-writes the whole show.

 

Chaos ensues at Rehearsal, with the Primadonna arriving late, and the second harpsichordist entirely absent – his deputy, the Third Harpsichordist is (of course) the Bear.

In Performance, the Impresario sends the Double-Bass home early, so the Bear takes over, (wearing gloves, obviously). The Cadenza is so long that the Barman starts serving drinks, until the Impresario orders the cast to cut to the Finale – the usual Recognition of long-lost twins, a surprise Wedding, and Resolution of the Vendetta. At the backstage after-party, Aldiviva chats on the Sofa with the Bear.

 

As one fast-moving comic scene follows another, everyone will recognise their favourite Vivaldi themes (Aldiviva certainly is the Man for all Seasons), and Baroque fans will enjoy trying to identify every citation from Vivaldi, the Marcello brothers, Tartini, Vitali, Handel, Bach etc.

 

Every line of the libretto is compiled from the 1720 book. Marcello describes each character in turn, but Andrew Lawrence-King’s dramatisation re-orders the original material to allow this company of misfits to reveal themselves in direct speech, crisp dialogue, sharply-observed detail and precision-timed comic action.

 

As the original book demands, all the music is stolen and much of it is transformed, gleefully switching between major and minor, high and low octaves, duple and triple metre. The orchestral score calls for strings and harpsichord, with optional woodwind soloists, the optional luxury of trumpets and timpani in Act III, and even a pair of horns, if you really want to give the Impresario something to complain about!

Whilst the music is authentically Baroque, the format is thoroughly 21st-century. Instead of recitative, Marcello’s sharply satirical comments are delivered in witty patter-songs and rapid-fire exchanges. There is lively interaction between the characters. Musical motivs return to accompany Marcello’s extended jokes and oft-repeated catch-phrases: never mind the plot, bring on the Arrows, the Lightning, the Extras and the Bear!

Like all good comedy, Il Teatro alla Moda contains a grain of truth and great deal of love. We can all recognise the universal characters Marcello satirises so wickedly. And the glorious energy and strong passions of Italian baroque music retain all their original splendour in this warm-hearted and entertaining new setting.

 

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IL  TEATRO  ALLA  MODA

PROLOGUE                               ENTRACTE

The Frontispiece                           The Ticket-Seller

The Dedication                              The Melodrama at the Door

ACT I - THEATRE                   ACT III - PERFORMANCE

The Drama                                     The Overture

The Libretto                                   The Prison Scene

The Contract                                  The Action Scene

The Singing Lesson                      The Sleep Scene

The Audition                                  During the Cadenza:

The Plot                                                   The Barman

The Copyist                                             The Fight between the Mothers

                                                                   The Cut 

ACT II - REHEARSAL            The Final Scene

The Company                                 

The Composer                                EPILOGUE

The Third Harpsichordist            The Audience

Aria for the Primadonna

Aria for the Virtuoso

Aria for the Buffo

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There are just six singers,

but the Baritone plays many roles. 

 

Meanwhile, Aldiviva,

the Poet & the Composer all look uncannily alike...

The plot thickens!

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ALDIVIVA
LICANTE

Poet

The

POET

Composer

The

COMPOSER

IMPRESARIO.png

The

IMPRESARIO

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Alipio Forcone, 

VIRTUOSO

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Giandussa Pelatutti

PRIMADONNA

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Signor Procolo,

her GALLANT ESCORT

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Signora Sabbatina,

her MOTHER

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The

LAWYER

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Maestro Crica,

SINGING TEACHER

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Old Stager

SIMON

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The

CARPENTER

TAILOR.png

The

TAILOR

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The

TICKET-
SELLER

BARMAN.png

The

BARMAN

BUFFO.jpg

The

BUFFO

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The

CELLIST

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The

PROMPTER

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Signora Giuliana.

MOTHER

of the

VIRTUOSO

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The

EXTRA

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The

BEAR

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