Dove è amore è gelosia

Giuseppe Scarlatti Dove è amore è gelosia opera to a libretto by Marco Coltellini. (Where There is Love There is Jealosy.) Directed 2011 by Ondřej Havelka at the Český Krumlov Theater where it was first performed in 1768. Stars Lenka Máčiková (Marquise Clarice), Aleš Briscein (Count Orazio), Kateřina Kněžiková (Vespetta) , Jaroslav Březina (Patlrizio), Bohumil Kiepl (Servant), and Tatána Kupcová (Marquise). Vojtěch Spurný conducts the Schwarzenberg Court Orchestra. Costume Designer-Jana Zbořilová; Music Director-Sylva Smejkalová; Sound Engineer-Jan Kotzman; Director of Photography-Jan Malíř; Producer-Jiří Hubač. There is also a valuable documentary about the history of the Český Krumlov Theater and staging of the revived opera.  Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A+

Giuseppe Scarlatti is not the composer of the piano sonatas. The pianist was Domenico S., who may have been an uncle to Giuseppe. Giuseppe S. wrote about 30 operas and other mostly vocal music.  Arkiv Music has 620 titles "available" in its data base for Domenico; before Opus Arte published subject title, there was no recording of anything by Giuseppe available in the market for new recordings, not even a Naxos CD.

So how does it come to pass that mighty Opus Arte picked up this unknown opera from such an utterly obscure composer? Well, artists and record producers aren't getting enough new music these days that most folks can understand and enjoy, so they have to mine the past. And in the vaults and libraries of Europe are found a huge number of forgotten operas, some of which are true sunken treasures. It just so happens that Dove è amore è gelosia received its world premiere at the Český Krumlov Theater in Prague right at 300 years ago. After that the opera soon was forgotten and the Český Krumlov Theater probably was neglected too for vast periods of time.

But at some point the theater was restored as a museum-theater with the idea of showing what it was like to stage an opera 150 years before the invention of electric light. And recently the keepers of the castle decided to actually stage an opera using 18th century technology and means. Authentic backstage equipment would be used as much as possible. Lighting would be by candle and wick lamp (how did they sell this to the Fire Marshal?). Of course, period instruments would be played in the pit. And not just the singers, but also the musicians and stage hands would dress in authentic costumes. Wow! With all this sizzle, who cares what the steak is like?

From what I can gather, the opera performed, Dove è amore è gelosia, is in fact pretty good. (It certainly has a catchy name.)  Opus Arte was probably quick to realize that this show could be a winner as a recording. And Gordon Smith was quick to see that it would be a hit with his L'OperaDou Jury. Gordon even turned off the power in his home theater and used candle light for his guests to find their seats and the wine bar. And in my mind I can see Gordon hovering about dressed in livery and wig.

Well, here are some comments from the Jury as reported on the Internet by Gordon:

“Superb performance. I really felt I was in this historic theatre as I listened to an opera I will probably never hear again. Seeing the stage machinery was fascinating. This Blu-Ray is a real gem!

“Charming opera. Lovely voices. What a treat to watch the stage manager in costume manipulating the ancient machines as if conducting an orchestra. We were all so enthusiastic about the entire Baroque experience that we applauded just like being there! A wonderfully satisfying evening.”

“Excellent from every point of view. This experience is better than a live performance because you see what goes on behind the scenes. What’s more the singers’ vocal qualities were very fine and their gestures made it all look like a painting ! And there was some delightful humour. I will recommend this disc to all my friends.

“Apart from the historical aspects of stagecraft —which were amazing — the direction for comedy was superb! Clever use of movement, voice changes, facial expression and connection with the audience played well to bring out the humour in every situation. The voices were great. A thoroughly happy production !”

The Jury gave an "A+" grade, which we will use also. Thank you again, Gordon, for letting me plagiarize you and the jury.

Here's a neat, if somewhat dark, clip: