La cucina and Adina Andrew Synnott (1970–) and Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

24 October - 3 November 2019
Tickets: €20-€150


Farsa in one act

Libretto by Marchese Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

First performance 22 June 1826, Teatro de S Carlos, Lisbon

Few of Gioachino Rossini’s operas are less well known than Adina – one reason already to qualify it for Wexford. Intriguingly, it’s not an early work but one composed (1818) in the aftermath of Rossini’s great creative flush of 1816–17, which produced masterpieces including Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Otello and La gazza ladra. So the composer certainly knew what he was doing when he produced what the Rossini scholar Richard Osborne has memorably described as ‘a pen-and-ink sketch rather than a full-scale drawing’ yet a work that is eminently stageable.

Among the many mysteries surrounding Adina are why it was commissioned in 1818 for a Portuguese patron yet not performed until 1826 at Lisbon’s Teatro São Carlos. Rossini never heard the work himself, and after a performance in 1828 in Rio de Janeiro, it disappeared from view until the 1960s. It was revived in Siena in 1963, and in Oxford in 1968. Rossini’s writing for the title role – and only female protagonist in the piece – is in some ways restrained, perhaps because he designed the part for a singer active in Lisbon he didn’t actually know. Though subtitled Il califfo di Bagdad, and adapted from Felice Romani’s Il califfo e la schiava, the score makes little attempt at Middle-Eastern local colour; indeed, four out of its ten numbers were culled by the composer from his own 1814 opera Sigismondo, which is set in 16th century Poland. The plot is a variation on the then-popular escape-from-the-harem theme, though the heroine on this occasion feels more than usual sympathy for her captor. All is explained – in good time, fortunately – when it transpires that the beautiful slave girl Adina is indeed the caliph’s daughter.

A co-production with Rossini Opera Festival

La cucina

Divertissement in one act

Libretto by Rosetta Cucchi

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

World premiere 24 October 2019, Wexford Festival Opera

This one-act farsa will be prefaced at Wexford with the world premiere of La cucina (‘The Kitchen’), with a libretto by the director – and Wexford’s Artistic Director-designate – Rosetta Cucchi and music by Andrew Synnott. The Dublin-based composer is no stranger to the operatic stage: his first opera, Breakdown, was followed by a pair of short operas – Counterparts and The Boarding House, based on James Joyce’s Dubliners and premiered two years ago at Wexford.

Michele Spotti

Rosetta Cucchi

Set Designer
Tiziano Santi

Costume Designer
Claudia Pernigotti

Lighting Designer
Simon Corder