Outside the Opera House this weekend and the following Saturday are three different one-act comic operas. Set on Sphinx Terrace in the afternoon, admission is free and the warm September days are perfect for taking in light-hearted theatre before the dark days of tragedy and long nights descend upon us. Whether you are a regular theatregoer or just looking for some weekend distraction, wander by the Opera House to catch these witty and compact productions.
Rarely performed today, “Il Campanello” by Donizetti follows the trials of an ageing doctor and his young bride, Serafina, on their wedding night as her jealous former lover seems intent on constantly interrupting any passion between the two. It contains an array of unusual characters and constant frustrations for Don Annibale, all set to the lively musical score of Donizetti.
This second one-act comedy, also by Donizetti, is a Hungarian première. It was virtually lost to the world between 1845 and 1977 until it was brought to life again. It is a clever and unusual farce in which the characters pretend to be insane to test whether their lovers can truly stand by them in adversity. As in Shakespearean comedy, there is always a dark undercurrent running throughout. Yes, it is a farce but it does stray into the side of life many do not want to think about. If you were insane (or mentally ill as far as political correctness would say), would your lover still want you? And how far would they go to stand by you? Comedy, like court jesters did in the old times, can explore serious issues under the guise of farce in a way a tragedy cannot.
“The Telephone”, or “L’amour à trois”, is another sparklingly witty short comic opera, this time by composer Menotti, which deals with the frustrations of love and trying to reach your lover through the telephone, to propose marriage. Perhaps this piece is more relevant than ever in these times. One of the worst aspects of theatres today is the telephone; selfie-obsessed, cell phone junkies who cannot sit through a single scene change without texting. Anyone aged 9 to 90 seems to be constantly and unhealthily addicted to their phones. Would it kill them to leave the phone alone for the three hours or so they are in the theatre? “The Telephone” provides much-needed thought around this subject although it was written long before this obsession took a stranglehold of modern life. A clever self-reflexive piece.
Opera House, Andrássy út 22, District VI
Saturday September 17, 2pm
Sunday September 18, 2pm
Saturday September 24, 1pm
“Il Pazzi Per Progetto”
Saturday September 17, 4pm
Sunday September 18, 4pm
Saturday September 24, 3pm
Saturday 17 September 17, 6pm
Sunday September 18, 6pm
Saturday September 24, 5pm