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Royal College of Music Opera Studio presents Il mondo della luna

Wednesday 25 September 2019

In the 50th anniversary year of the first lunar landing, the Royal College of Music is taking audiences to the moon and back with Haydn’s comic opera Il mondo della luna. Directed by William Relton, Haydn’s opera buffa offers both the delight of a comic plot and some of the composer’s finest writing: a grand romantic aria, evocative flight song and elegant lunar ballet.

The story centres on aspiring space cadet Buonafede, his daughters Clarice and Flaminia, and his bogus astronomer, Ecclitico. While the miserly Buonafede longs to go to the moon, everyone else longs for love. Ecclitico is pursuing Clarice, nobleman Ernesto loves Flaminia and his servant, Cecco, desires the sisters’ chambermaid. Together, the lovers conspire to trick Buonafede into releasing his tyrannical grip on his daughters.

When Buonafede glimpses a pantomime of moon life through Ecclitico’s telescope, he believes it to be real and eagerly swallows an elixir to transport him there. The sleeping potion sends him on a hallucinatory journey, accompanied by the hypnotic swirling strains of Haydn’s flight music. When he awakens in a starlit garden, he revels in what he considers to be an otherworldly paradise. In the court of the Emperor of the Moon, where class structure is satirised and anything seems possible, will Buonafede consent to a triple wedding, or will the lovers be brought down to earth with a bump?

William Relton is a much sought-after teacher and director who began his career as an actor with a professional début in London’s West End. His roles on the operatic stage have included Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. Relton made his international directing début with Verdi’s Otello for Opéra de Nice and recently directed the world première of The Importance of Being Earnest, having adapted the play to an operatic libretto composed by B Tommy Andersson for the Vadstena Festival in Sweden.

As is traditional for RCM opera productions, two casts will alternate performances, giving as many accomplished young singers as possible the chance to take to the RCM’s Britten Theatre stage.

For more information and to buy tickets, call the RCM Box Office on 020 7591 4314, visit the RCM in person on Prince Consort Road SW7, or visit the opera webpage