Michael Rosewell conductor
William Relton director
Ruari Murchison designer
Kevin Treacy lighting designer
Haydn Il mondo della luna
On the 50th anniversary of the first human lunar landing, let the RCM Opera Studio take you to the moon and back with Haydn’s comedy, Il mondo della luna.
Haydn was the seventh composer to get his hands on the libretto of Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni, setting the sci-fi sitcom to a scintillating score in 1750. Wrapped within the comic context of this opera buffa lies some of the composer’s finest writing: a grand romantic aria, highly evocative flight song and even an elegant lunar ballet.
The extra-terrestrial tale centres on wannabe space cadet Buonafede, his daughters Clarice and Flaminia, and his bogus astronomer, Ecclitico. While the miserly Buonafede longs for a lunar lifestyle, everyone else longs for love. Ecclitico is pursuing Clarice, the 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 the old miser glimpses a pantomime of lunar life through Ecclitico’s telescope, he believes it to be real and eagerly swallows an elixir to transport him to the moon. The sleeping potion sends Buonafede 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 the moonstruck Buonafede consent to a triple wedding, or will the lovers be brought back down to earth with a bang?