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
Copyright © 20 August 2000
Malcolm Miller, London, UK
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