“La serva padrona” in the Royal Theatre. A cunning maid and a bachelor under the thumb in the marionette opera

The Royal Theatre

The famous work "La serva padrona” (“The Servant Turned Mistress”) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, telling a funny story of a wealthy bachelor terrorized by a maid, will be available to see in February in the Royal Łazienki. The show, performed as a marionette opera, will be prepared by the Warsaw Chamber Opera as part of the "Baroque in the Royal Theatre" series. Tickets are for sale at the ticket offices of the Museum and the Warsaw Chamber Opera.

The comical, two-act opera by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, with a simple, succinct and yet persuasive and relevant to life libretto is a farce about old-bachelorhood. It tells a story of a man named Umberto, who sits quietly under the dictate of his young, cunning maid. After becoming fed up with her whims, he decides to marry, hoping that a wife would bring order into the house. However, the shrewd maid Serpina causes him to marry none other but her.

"La serva padrona” was first performed in 1733, during a birthday ceremony of empress Elisabeth Christina, as an intermezzo in the breaks between the acts of the Opera seria - "The Proud Prisoner” – also by Giovanni Battista Peroglesi. The fame of the modest piece quickly outshined the "proper” opera, giving rise to light Italian Opera buffa, aimed mainly at entertaining and amusing the audience.

Its elements appeared in Italy back in the 17th century, but it was only after the two-act “La serva padrona” when it became an independent genre. Opera buffa, whose forerunner was Peroglesi, was perfected by masters such as Mozart and Rossini.

Peroglesi (1710-1736), a Neapolitan school composer, authored chamber music, secular cantatas, church music pieces and Opera seria, but what brought him fame was "La serva padrona”.

The comical opera of the Italian composer will be available to see in the Royal Theatre on 26 (premiere), 27, and 28 February (7 p.m.) Tickets for the performance can be bought in the ticket offices of the Royal Łazienki and the Warsaw Chamber Opera. Premiere: normal ticket price - 80 zlotys, reduced ticket price - 40 zlotys, performances on 27 and 28 February: normal ticket price - 60 zlotys, reduced ticket price - 30 zlotys.

“La serva padrona” will be presented by the marionette division of the Warsaw Chamber Opera as part of the "Baroque in the Royal Theatre" series. It will feature excellent soloists from the Warsaw Chamber Opera, musicians from the Warsaw Chamber Opera’s Old Instrument Ensemble (Musicae Antique Collegium Varsoviense) led by Przemysław Fiugajski, and puppeteer actors - alumni of the Puppet Art Faculty. The performance will be directed by Lesław Piecka - a marionette theatre specialist and lecturer at the Puppet Art Faculty of the Białystok division of the Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art. It will take place in front of a scenography, while the puppeteer actors, moving marionettes suspended on long strings, will remain invisible to the audience.

Marionette opera is an exceptional scenic genre combining opera and puppet theatre. It reached its prime in the 18th century. Contemporarily, due to difficulties relating to preparing performances, it functions in only several places in the world, including Salzburg and the homeland of marionettes - Milan. The Warsaw Chamber Opera’s Marionette Scene, which existed in the eighties, was reactivated in the art season 2014/2015 with "The Abduction from the Seraglio" performance by W.A. Mozart.