Visitors are invited to a special performance – "La serva padrona" (Servant Turned Mistress), which will be shown in the Royal Theatre as a marionette opera. Almost one metre tall marionettes will "act" – brought to life with the hands of animators and voices of outstanding soloists.

"La serva padrona" – a two-act opera by Giovanni Battista Peroglesi 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 remains 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.

The show will feature performances by excellent soloists from the Warsaw Chamber Opera, musicians from the Warsaw Chamber Opera’s Old Instrument Ensemble (Musicae Antique Collegium Varsoviense) 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.

The performance will be shown against a rich scenography, while the puppeteer actors – moving marionettes suspended on long strings – will remain invisible to the audience.


Opera buffa

"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".

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