La grotta di Trofonio
La grotta di Trofonio
Opera comica in 2 acts
Music by Antonio Salieri, Vienna, 1785;
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Casti
English translation by Gilly French and Jeremy Gray
The Deanery garden, Bampton: 17, 18 July 2015
Westonbirt Orangery: 31 August 2015
St John's, Smith Square: 15 September 2015
Artistic director Jeremy Gray introduces Trofonio’s Cave
|Dori, his daughter||Aoife O'Sullivan|
|Ofelia, a more serious daughter||Anna Starushkevych|
|Artemidoro, a philosophical young man, in love with Ofelia||Christopher Turner|
|Plistene, in love with Dori||Nicholas Merryweather|
|Trofonio, a magician||Matthew Stiff|
|Movement director||Triona Adams|
Kindly Aristone is sympathetic to the marriage plans of his daughters Ofelia and Dori and wants only for their happiness. He’s well aware that the girls are very different in spirit, but they have made sensible choices of boyfriends – Ofelia, who is happiest when she has a heavy tome of Greek philosophy in her hands, loves the sensible and caring Artemidoro; her younger sister Dori is a more cheerful girl, more inclined to partying than studying, and she has found the perfect match in her lively boyfriend Plistene. How will their father plan a wedding reception to suit such different pairings and their guests?
Deep in a forest, there is a dark cave with magical properties and guarded by the venerable but capricious wizard Trofonio. He can summon invisible spirits to perform his sometimes noble but sometimes malicious wishes. The boys decide to go for a walk in the country and, coming across the cave and its hoary guardian, unwisely decide to investigate. First Artemidoro, carrying his volume of Plato, enters in the expectation of enlightenment, and he is quickly followed by Plistene who’s in search of diversionary entertainment. Each emerges from the other side of the cave quite transformed – Artemidoro can no longer think of dusty philosophy and cares only for fun; Plistene is delighted to pick up off the ground Artemidoro’s rudely discarded volume of Plato. When their fiancées find them, they cannot believe their changed characters and assume they must be pretending or, worse, have gone quite mad. When their father discusses the development of the wedding plans, they begin to have second thoughts. Incredulity and bickering end the act in confusion.
Aristone is having a hard time keeping the girls on track for their wedding. The boys manage to get themselves sorted out and back to normal when they re-visit the cave, but the girls, who now go for a walk to clear their confused brains, unwisely fall into conversation with Trofonio. As they are complaining about the heat, he coaxes them into the cool shade of the cave. Aristone meets the boys and is relieved that their madness is dispelled. Ofelia comes out of the cave, playful and giggling, whereas her sister is now prone to deep philosophical musings. The men are bewildered.
Aristone intervenes and begs Trofonio to explain what has been going on. The magician explains the secret of the cave, and once the girls have been pushed back into it, they emerge in their true characters. Everyone is relieved and the weddings can now proceed as planned. Trofonio fails to persuade the cautious Aristone to visit the cavern, but relishes the fun he has had, and his ability to put everything to right.
a revelation... zany production and witty modern translation... the music is magnificent
Seen and Heard International, 20 July 2015
joyful and melodious
Bachtrack, 20 July 2015
giddily exciting, propelled by wit, charm and bags of joy
The Spectator, 25 July 2015
...visual wit and musical accomplishment
Opera, September 2015
...lively, inventive... a joy from start to finish
The Oxford Times, 27 August 2015
...the most polished of Bampton casts that I've witnessed, with a hoot of a production to match
Opera Now, September 2015
...shone from the very outset...
Music and Vision, 28 August 2015
fresh and vigorous throughout...
The Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2015
They have done Salieri proud...
The Arts Desk, September 2015
Seen and Heard International, 16 September 2015
a production which did the work justice in such an engaging manner
Planet Hugill, 18 September 2015
an enthusiastic performance of riotiously spirited music
Opera Britannia, 18 September 2015
bowled over by how strong the music was
Music OMH, 17 September 2015
nothing short of magnificent
Boulezian, 21 September 2015
...unearthed some real magic
Opera Today, 19 September 2015
Synopsis in detail
Prima la musica
Holes in the ground and honey-cakes