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Niccolò Jommelli
L'uccellatrice, intermezzo in two acts (Venice, 1750)
ed. Mariateresa Dellaborra

This work, on Carlo Goldoni’s libretto, has two characters (Mergellina, soprano; Narciso, tenore) plus an optional mime (Lesbino). Francesca Cioffi and Alessandro Renda premièred it on Ascension Day 1750 at the San Samuele Theater, Venice. The show ran, to sweeping success, for over twenty years; its French version, La pipée (1753), was also popular. It is based on a standard plot—a smart seller girl and a naïve noble young man, after sundry arguments and tricks, pledge eternal love and plan marriage. Both libretto and score resort to tried-and-true solutions, but the (anonymous) libretto is effective and Jommelli’s writing turns it into inspired music. Realism and irony (deftly emphasized by sure-fire musical effects), comedy tricks, and passages mocking opera seria are cleverly supported by orchestral writing and find their natural climax in the closing duets of both acts.

Mariateresa Dellaborra teaches Music History at the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Franco Vittadini”, Pavia. An authority on 18th- and 19th-century Italian music, she published books and essays for Olschki, Ets, Brepols, L’Epos, Lim, Ut Orpheus, Rugginenti, and Marsilio, wrote entries for The New Grove (2nd edition) and MGG, and edited instrumental compositions by Niccolò Paganini, Giovanni Battista Viotti, Alessandro Rolla, and Saverio Mercadante, as well as operas by Giovanni Battista Sammartini, Tommaso Traetta, Niccolò Jommelli, Marcos Portugal, and Alessandro Stradella. A board member of Arcadia Foundation, Milan, she coordinates the Monumenti Musicali Italiani section at SIdM, and participates in the ITMI (Indici della Trattatistica Musicale Italiana) working group, Franceschini Foundation, Florence.
L'uccellatrice, intermezzo in two acts (Venice, 1750)