21 August 2014

La finta giardiniera at Glyndebourne


My third visit to the Glyndebourne Festival in 2014 was to see an early Mozart opera, La finta giardiniera, which I had not heard of previously. It was not exactly my choice to see it, a friend wanted to go, but I was happy enough to see something by Mozart and so I applied for some tickets.

The day was warm and dry but windy so the marquee seemed the best option for picnicking. The weather meant that my first drink was a decidedly unbubbly cup of tea. I had some cake too before taking the customary walk around the gardens.

The bubbly did, of course, make an appearance before the opera started and a reappearance during the long interval.

I was up in the Blue Upper Circle in the second row from the very back (F23) where I had this fine view of the stage and, importantly, also of the surtitles. At £85 I thought that this was excellent value.

La finta giardiniera was a love story with a difference. The difference being that when we first meet the central couple he has just stabbed her and left her for dead. Not many relationships recover from something like that but this one did.

Oddly the stabbing was not the main obstacle to their ultimate reunion, that was the various other people who they were either engaged to or who were in love with them. The story was thick with unrequited love.

There were lots of moments of comedy too and in one riotous scene the arguing couple literally tore down the room that they were in. It helped that it was made of paper.

The plot was very light-operatic and the music was too. Mozart knew how to write a pretty tune and this had several. And this being Glyndebourne, the singers all did an excellent job with both the music and the acting.

La finta giardiniera never threatened the intellect or did very much emotionally but it never tried to either. It was perfectly happy being a light-operatic rom-com and I was perfectly happy to see it.

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