ROSSINI “LA CAMBIALE DI MATRIMONIO” at La Fenice Opera House in Venice



Venice: La Fenice Opera House

NEXT show:2015-09-17    LAST show:2015-09-26

Artistic Team

Conductor: Lorenzo Viotti

Director: Enzo Dara

Sets: Stefano Crivellari

Costumes: Federica Miani

lighting: Elisa Ottogalli


Tobia | Omar Montanari
| Marina Bucciarelli
Edoardo Milfort
| Francisco Brito
| Filippo Fontana
| Claudio Levantino
| Rossella Locatelli

Conductor | Lorenzo Viotti
Direction | Enzo Dara
Sets | Stefano Crivellari
Costumes | Federica Miani
Lighting | Elisa Ottogalli

La Fenice Opera House OrchestraLa Fenice Opera House production


Gioachino Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio (The Bill of Marriage) marked the beginning of his career as a composer on 3 November 1810 at Teatro San Moisè in Venice. The eighteen-year old musician worked together with Gaetano Rossi, an experienced librettist from Verona, who then went on to write Tancredi (1813) and Semiramide (1823) for him as well. Organised in eight musical numbers, at the heart of the libretto is the conflict between generations and traditions from distant countries. A young couple wish to get married, but a father-master is stopping them. Luckily the groom the father has in mind is a foreigner – a kind hearted Canadian: He defends the two lovers and finally gives his rival the document, a bill that will allow him to marry the young girl.



A room in Tobia Mill’s house.

Norton and Clarina, servants of Tobia Mill, a rich English merchant, are eagerly discussing the latest news about the future of their master’s daughter, the lovely Fanny. The two gossipers have to break up their conference when old Mill comes into the room, intent upon studying – without being much enlightened – the map of the world: his preposterous notions of geography do not get him very far! Norton and Clarina come back with an important letter that has arrived from the New World; although reluctant to tear himself away from geography, Mill is overjoyed to recognize the handwriting of Slook, his colonial correspondent in America. In his letter, the American announces his impending arrival in order to pick up the «merchandise» quoted in the agreement that he has signed with Mill: the latter now reads out to the astonished Norton the promissory note by which Slook has commissioned Mill to find him a wife, stipulating all the necessary qualities. It is a «deal» of the greatest importance and Mill, without at all consulting the young lady in question, has decided that his own daughter Fanny shall be the «merchandise». Norton tries in vain to dissuade him: Mill intends to combine business with pleasure in marrying his daughter to the rich American.


When the two men have left, Fanny comes in with her beloved, Edoardo Milfort. As Edoardo’s financial circumstances leave something to be desired, Fanny has never confessed her love to her father: the two young people are awaiting the arrival of Edoardo’s rich uncle before confessing their love. Norton joins the young couple and warns them of Fanny’s father’s intentions; Mill himself unexpectedly enters and Norton explains away the suspicious presence of a young man by introducing Edoardo as the new bookkeeper. His mind now at rest, Mill entrusts his daughter with a letter that she is to present to the foreigner who is about to arrive. This is none other than Slook: as soon as he comes in, he clumsily tries to show off his newly acquired «European» good manners without, however, forgetting that he is basically a man accustomed to «practical American simplicity». When at last he is left alone with Fanny, Slook learns from the letter that she is the girl whom Mill has selected to be his future wife. Fanny tries to persuade Slook to give up any idea of getting his hands on his «merchandise», and then Edoardo comes in and intimates that the American had better abandon the business entirely and not say anything about it to old Mill: Slook, afraid of having his eyes torn out, goes off with the young people without being able to understand why they are so threatening.


Clarina is worried about Fanny, whom she would like to see happy, and Norton comforts her, secure in his belief that the marriage to Slook will never take place. As soon as he has the chance, Norton insinuates to Slook that the goods in which he is about to invest (his future wife) are already mortgaged. His head spinning with all this, poor Slook goes to look for Mill and tells him that the deal is off, but the outraged Mill at once challenges him to a duel, feeling himself to have been tricked and insulted. When Mill has gone away,

Slook soon discovers that Edoardo and Fanny are in love and, moved by their words, proposes to sign the promissory note over to Edoardo whom, at the same time, he designates as his heir: the American cannot believe that in Europe a father would force a daughter into marrying against her will. Fanny, thanking him, expresses all her unbounded happiness.


Meanwhile Mill, preparing for the duel, realizes that he might get the worst of it and becomes terrified: when Slook joins him and observes his lack of courage he teazes him until the others come in to break off the warlike preparations. Now Edoardo shows Mill the promissory note and demands the goods specified, but the astonished Mill will have none of it. Only Slook can persuade him to allow Fanny to marry Edoardo, promising him that he has nominated the young man his heir: now that the promissory note has been made out to Edoardo it will bring happiness to all, and within a year it will produce interest in the shape of a bouncing baby grandson.


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