Lo frate 'nnamorato
Lo frate 'nnamorato is a three act commedia musicale (a form of 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...

) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was an Italian composer, violinist and organist.-Biography:Born at Iesi, Pergolesi studied music there under a local musician, Francesco Santini, before going to Naples in 1725, where he studied under Gaetano Greco and Francesco Feo among others...

, to a 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 Gennarantonio Federico, first performed in 1732.

Composition history

The opera, written when the composer was only 22, is his first attempt at comic opera. (It was followed in 1733 by his better-known short opera, La serva padrona
La serva padrona
La serva padrona is an opera buffa by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi to a libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico, after the play by Jacopo Angello Nelli. The opera is only 45 minutes long and was originally performed as an intermezzo between the acts of a larger serious opera...

). The first performance was on 27 September 1732, at the Teatro Fiorentini, Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

. A successful run was halted by a severe earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

, which closed the theatres in Naples until the autumn of 1733. It was re-presented during the 1734 carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...



Role Voice type Premiere cast
27 September 1732
Marcianello, an elderly Neapolitan bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

Giacomo D'Ambrosio
Ascanio, his adopted son 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...

Teresa Passaglioni
Luggrezia, his daughter contralto
Contralto is the deepest female classical singing voice, with the lowest tessitura, falling between tenor and mezzo-soprano. It typically ranges between the F below middle C to the second G above middle C , although at the extremes some voices can reach the E below middle C or the second B above...

Rosa Gherardini
Carlo, a Roman 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...

Gian Battista Ciriaci
Don Pietro, his son 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...

Girolamo Piani
Nina, his niece contralto Teresa De Palma / Maria Caterina Negri
Nena, his niece soprano Marianna Ferrante
Vanella, Carlo's servant soprano Margherita Pozzi
Cardella, Marcianello's servant soprano Maria Morante / Virginia Gasparrini


The opera is set in the house of Marcianello in the Capodimonte region of Naples. Ascanio, the brother of Nina and Nena, was stolen by brigands in childhood and presumed lost; he was however found and adopted by Marcianello. Now Nina and Nena are the wards of their uncle, the
Roman Don Carlo. Don Carlo wishes to marry Luggrezia, the daughter of Marcianello, who himself wishes to marry Nina and to take Nena as wife for his son, the fop
Fop became a pejorative term for a foolish man over-concerned with his appearance and clothes in 17th century England. Some of the very many similar alternative terms are: "coxcomb", fribble, "popinjay" , fashion-monger, and "ninny"...

pish Don Pietro. Nina and Nena meanwhile have fallen in love with Ascanio, not realising their relationship. The two maids Vanella (servant of Carlo) and Cardella (servant of Marcianello) comment on and take part in the various intrigues which ensue. Finally, in a duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

 with Carlo, the latter recognises Ascanio as his lost nephew by a birthmark
A birthmark is a benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month. They can occur anywhere on the skin. Birthmarks are caused by overgrowth of blood vessels, melanocytes, smooth muscle, fat, fibroblasts, or...

 on his arm. Ascanio and Luggrezia are now free to marry.


Teatro alla Scala production, conducted by Ricardo Muti (1989) (Opus Arte DVD)

External links

  • Ogni pena più spietata (aria
    An aria in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment...

     from Act 1 of the opera) sung by Janet Baker
    Janet Baker
    Dame Janet Abbott Baker, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English mezzo-soprano best known as an opera, concert, and lieder singer.She was particularly closely associated with baroque and early Italian opera and the works of Benjamin Britten...

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