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MALCOLM MILLER reviews an open-air revival of Stephen Storace's 'Comedy of Errors'


An open-air revival of Stephen Storace's sparkling comic opera Gli Equivoci, or The Comedy of Errors, to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, was presented on 21/22 July by Bampton Classical Opera locally in the UK's Oxfordshire. Possibly the first operatic adaptation of a Shakesperean comedy, its complex plot of lovers' confusion and reconciliation was presented zestfully and imaginatively staged by Jeremy Gray, using a wittily rhyming English translation made by the late Arthur Jacobs, first used at the 1974 Camden Festival.

Stephen Storace is best known for ballad operas, and his sister Nancy was the first Susannah in Mozart's Figaro. Storace's visits to Vienna to see her brought friendship with Mozart and others, and led to commissions from the Imperial Court for several operas, including Gli sposi malcontenti of 1785, the success of which led to Gli Equivoci. Its premiere in December 1786 followed after that of Figaro seven months earlier. There are several important connections between them. Lorenzo da Ponte was librettist for both works and the two lead roles in both were sung by Nancy Storace and Benucci (the first Figaro). Other similarities are evident, especially the finale of Act 1 as a nocturnal farce confusing lovers' identities.

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Copyright © 20 August 2000 Malcolm Miller, London, UK




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