La buona figliuola
La Cecchina, ossia La buona figliuola (Cecchina, or The Good-Natured Girl) is an opera buffa
Opera buffa
Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as ‘commedia in musica’, ‘commedia per musica’, ‘dramma bernesco’, ‘dramma comico’, ‘divertimento giocoso' etc...

 in three Acts by Niccolò Piccinni
Niccolò Piccinni
Niccolò Piccinni was an Italian composer of symphonies, sacred music, chamber music, and opera. Although he is somewhat obscure, even to music lovers today, Piccinni was one of the most popular composers of opera—particularly the Neapolitan opera buffa—of his day...

. The libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

, by Carlo Goldoni
Carlo Goldoni
Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni was an Italian playwright and librettist from the Republic of Venice. His works include some of Italy's most famous and best-loved plays. Audiences have admired the plays of Goldoni for their ingenious mix of wit and honesty...

, is based on Samuel Richardson
Samuel Richardson
Samuel Richardson was an 18th-century English writer and printer. He is best known for his three epistolary novels: Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded , Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady and The History of Sir Charles Grandison...

's novel Pamela. This was Piccinni's most successful Italian opera. There was a sequel entitled La buona figliuola maritata (1761) by the same composer and librettist. La buona figliuola supposta vedova by Gaetano Latilla
Gaetano Latilla
Gaetano Latilla was an Italian opera composer, the most important of the period immediately preceding Niccolò Piccinni .Latilla was born in Bari, and studied at the Loreto Conservatory in Naples...

 followed in 1766.

Performance history

It was first performed at the Teatro delle Dame, Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 on 6 February 1760 with Borghese, Savi, De Cristofori, Lovattini and Casaccia. It was given in London on 25 November 1766 with Gaetano Guadagni
Gaetano Guadagni
Gaetano Guadagni was an Italian mezzo-soprano castrato singer, most famous for singing the role of Orpheus at the premiere of Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice in 1762.- Career :...

, Savi, Lovattini, Morigi, Quercioli, Piatti, and Michele.

This opera is said to be the first opera that has ever been performed in China, namely at the court of the Qianlong Emperor
Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796...



Cast Voice type Premiere, February 6, 1760
Cecchina, a maid soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Tommaso Borghesi
Armidoro, engaged to Lucinda tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Carlo De Cristofori
The marquis of Conchiglia, in love with Cecchina tenor Giovanni Lovatini
Lucinda, the marquis' sister soprano Gaspero Savoj
Mengotto, a poor man in love with Cecchina baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Giuseppe Casaccia
Paoluccia, a maid mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

Francesco Pieri
Sandrina, a maid soprano Giuseppe Giustinelli
Tagliaferro, a German soldier baritone Francesco Carattoli
Francesco Carattoli
Francesco Carattoli was an Italian bass buffo, or singer of opera buffa.Carattoli was born in Rome, and began singing in the 1740s...


The marquis of Conchiglia has fallen in love with Cecchina who is a maid. Shocked by the social impropriety of such a match, Cavaliere Armidoro, the fiancee of the marquis's sister, refuses to marry Lucinda. Distraught over losing the man she loves, Lucinda begs the marquis to stop seeing Cecchina. Meanwhile Cecchina has several problems of her own, including Mengotto, a poor man who is infatuated with her and won't leave her alone, and Sandrina and Paoluccia, two jealous maids who try to cause as much trouble for Cecchina as they can. After many plot twists, the opera ends well when Tagliaferro, a German soldier, reveals that Cecchina is in fact the daughter of a German baron, which enables Cecchina to marry the Marchese without upsetting Armidoro.


Piccinni: La Cecchina o sia La buona figliola - Orchestra Serenissima Pro Arte
  • Conductor: Bruno Campanella
  • Principal singers: Alessandra Ruffini, Bruno Pratico, Maria Angeles Peters, Gabriella Morigi, Giuseppe Morino
  • Recording date: January 8, 2002
  • Label: Nuova Era 7123/25 (3 cd)

Piccinni: La buona figliola - Orchestra del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
  • Conductor: Gianluigi Gelmetti
  • Principal singers: Lucia Aliberti, Enzo Dara, Margherita Rinaldi, Emilia Raviglia, Ugo Benelli
  • Recording date: February 4, 1981
  • Label: Fonit Cetra CDC 95 (2 cd)

Piccinni: La buona figliola - La Lyra di Anfione
  • Conductor: Vito Paternoster
  • Principal singers: Serena Farnocchia, Graziella Merrino, Danilo Formaggia, Eun Young Oh, Larissa Schmidt, Eugenia Pont-Burgoyne, Piero Terranova, Davude Pelissero
  • Recording date: September 25, 2001
  • Label: Bongiovanni GB 2293/94-2 (2 cd)


  • Amadeus Almanac, accessed 19 June 2008
  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-140-29312-4
  • Warrack, John and West, Ewan, The Oxford Dictionary of Opera New York: OUP: 1992 ISBN 0-19-869164-5

External links

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