La Cena Delle Beffe at La Scala Theater in Milan

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From 3 April to 7 May 2016

Umberto Giordano

Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
New Teatro alla Scala Production

Running Time: 2 hours intermission included

Conductor Carlo Rizzi
Staging Mario Martone
Sets Margherita Palli
Costumes Ursula Patzak
Lights Pasquale Mari

CAST

Giannetto Malespini Marco Berti
Ginevra Kristin Lewis
Neri Chiaramantesi Nicola Alaimo
Gabriello Chiaramantesi Leonardo Caimi
Il Tornaquinci Luciano Di Pasquale
Il Calandra Giovanni Romeo*
Fazio Frano Lufi
Il Trinca Francesco Castoro
Il Dottore Bruno de Simone
Lapo, Un cantore Edoardo Milletti
Lisabetta Jessica Nuccio
Laldomine Chiara Tirotta*
Fiammetta Federica Lombardi*
Cintia Chiara Isotton

*Academy of Teatro alla Scala

Before each performance, Franco Pulcini will hold an introduction to the opera at the A. Toscanini Boxes Foyer. The meetings will start one hour before the beginning of each performance and the entrance is reserved to the audience with the ticket for the performance.

READ THE LIBRETTO

NOTES ON THE PERFORMANCES

With the return to La Scala of La Cena delle Beffe by Umberto Giordano, that was inaugurated in the same location by Toscanini in 1924, the project of bringing back to La Scala the main masterpieces of the Verismo repertoire gets underway. La cena della beffe, the musical version of a successful pièce by Sem Benelli (who is also the author of the adaptation of the libretto) that had a great many revivals throughout the world – in the early 1900s with protagonists like Sarah Bernhardt and even in the cinema in 1941, where it was directed by Alessandro Blasetti and featured Amedeo Nazzari – is an opera that maintains modernity and dramatic effectiveness. It is an ideal title for a director with theatrical, operatic and cinematographic experience like Mario Martone, who will be supported by one of the best loved scenographer of the La Scala audience, Margherita Palli. It is conducted by Carlo Rizzi, an expert of Italian repertoire, and the singers will be Kristin Lewis, Marco Berti and Nicola Alaimo.

 GALLERY

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Synopsis

Act One

Florence, in the house of the Tornaquinci, at the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici.

Lorenzo de’ Medici has ordered Tornaquinci to hold a dinner in his home
with the aim of making pace between Giannetto Malespini and the Chiaramantesi
brothers, Neri and Gabriello. The first to arrive is Giannetto. He tells
Tornaquinci how Neri took his mistress, Ginevra, and then cruelly mocked
him: indeed, Neri and his brother, Gabriello, bound him in a sack, pricked
him in the backside with their daggers and threw him into the Arno. Giannetto
has only one obsession now: revenge. The Chiaramantesi brothers enter
with the exquisite Ginevra and the company sit at the table. During the
meal, it is apparent that, despite the love that unites the two brothers,
Gabriello is also in love with Ginevra. Giannetto convinces Neri, who has had
a little too much to drink, to remove his clothes and put on his armour to go
in search of a brawl in Vacchereccia, a disreputable area of Florence. Once
Neri has left fully armed, Giannetto, almost in a state of frenzy, takes Neri’s
clothes and gives them to his servant Fazio, telling him to take them home
and then go to Vacchereccia, spreading the rumour that Neri has lost his
senses.

 

Act One Two

Ginevra’s antechamber.

The next day, as Ginevra leaves her chamber the servants are talking of Neri
and of how the night before he has gone mad and been imprisoned.
Ginevra then tells them that that is impossible, as Neri is at that moment lying
in her bed after spending a passionate night of love with her. Suddenly,
Giannetto appears wearing a short tunic and carrying Neri’s cloak on his
arm. Pretending to be his rival, he has spent the night with Ginevra. On
learning the truth, she appears to be far from horrified, and the couple recall
their night of love. Some commotion is heard and Neri bursts in, in a fury,
cursing Giannetto. He calls Ginevra, who has locked herself in her room, but
soon the Medici men come to arrest the presumed madman and take him
away.

 

Act Three

In the Medici dungeon.

Giannetto and the Doctor enter. The latter says that, to bring the madman
to his senses, a meeting has been organised between Neri and the many
people he has offended in the past. Fazio then appears to put his master on
his guard against Gabriello, who is convinced that behind his brother’s presumed
madness there is the hand of Giannetto. He has also been to see
Ginevra, but to no avail: despite his insistence, she refused to open her door.
Giannetto considers how to proceed in his revenge. Servants then bring Neri
tied to a chair. During the exchange with his past victims, Neri is comforted
by Lisabetta, one of the women he seduced and betrayed. She realises that
Neri is not mad and, still in love with him, she tells him to act like an inoffensive
fool so that she can ask to take him into her custody. Giannetto enters,
sees the transformation in Neri and despairs, believing he has truly driven his
rival mad. He begs for his forgiveness, but Neri continues to behave like a
harmless idiot and ignores him. Giannetto grants Lisabetta custody of Neri,
who is unbound and consigned to her. As the couple leave the scene hand
in hand, Giannetto tells the feigned madman that he will once more spend
the night with Ginevra.

Act Four

The same scene as Act Two.

It is night and Ginevra is waiting for Giannetto; the latter has told Gabriello
that Ginevra loves him and is waiting for him in her house. Neri bursts onto
the scene. He tells Ginevra to go and wait for Giannetto in her chamber, because
he means to take the two lovers by surprise and to kill them. A sad
and mysterious song can be heard from the road. Neri enters Ginevra’s
chamber with his dagger drawn, and shortly afterwards two screams are
heard: one is that of a man, the other that of a woman. When he leaves the
chamber, Neri meets Giannetto who asks him who he thinks he has killed.
Horrified, Neri realises that, once again, he has been deceived by Giannetto,
who has tricked him into killing his beloved brother, Gabriello. The blow is
too much and this time, Neri really does become mad, leaving Giannetto
stunned and full of remorse.

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