15 Oct 2006


Rita ou Le mari battu, a comic opera in one act.

Music composed by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). Libretto by Gustave Vaëz.

First Performance: 7 May 1860, Opéra-Comique, Paris.

Rita, an innkeeperSoprano
Beppe, her husbandTenor
Gaspar, a planterBaritone


The story begins at the inn of Rita, the tyrannical and abusive wife of the timid Beppe. The life of the couple is thrown into turmoil with the unexpected arrival of Gaspar, the first husband of Rita, whom all believed to have drowned. In reality, Gaspar had run away to Canada. Believing that Rita has died in a fire, Gaspar has returned to obtain her death certificate so that he can remarry. When the two meet, Gaspar tries to run away. Beppe, however, sees this as an opportunity to free himself from Rita's slaps because Gaspar is her legitimate husband. The two men agree to a game such that whoever wins has to remain with Rita. Both try to lose, but ultimately the winner is Gaspar. Yet Rita, who had suffered frequently from the hand of Gaspar, refuses to return to be his wife. Gaspar, pretending he has lost the hand, induces Beppe to declare his love for Rita and his firm intention to remain as her husband. The crafty Gaspar, having achieved his purpose, takes his leave from the reconciled couple.

Click here for the complete libretto.