17 Mar 2010

STORACE: Gli Equivoci

Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.

Music composed by Stephen Storace. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, after William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, translated into English by Arthur Jacobs.

First Performance: 27 December 1786, Burg, Vienna.

Eufemio of Syracuse, son of Egeon and twin brother of Eufemio of Ephesus Tenor
Dromio of Syracuse, servant of Eufemio of Syracuse and twin brother of Dromio of Ephesus Baritone
Eufemio of Ephesus, son of Egeon and twin brother of Eufemio of Syracuse Tenor
Dromio of Ephesus, servant of Eufemio of Ephesus and twin brother of Dromio of Syracuse Baritone
Silinus, Duke of Ephesus Baritone
Egeon, a merchant from Syracuse Baritone
Sofronia, wife of Eufemio of Ephesus Soprano
Sostrate, sister of Sofronia Soprano
Angelo, a goldsmith Baritone
Lesbia, wife of Dromio of Syracuse Soprano
Dromia, young child of Lesbia and Dromio of Syracuse Soprano


Act I

A violent storm shipwrecks Euphemio of Syracuse and his servant — unluckily they have arrived at Ephesus where any Syracusan must pay a ransom or face execution. Meanwhile in the city the elderly Aegeon is under that very sentence. However, his story moves the Duke Solinus to grant him a day's remission: Aegeon had been searching for his twin sons (with their twin servants), one of whom had been lost in another storm many years ago.

When Euphemio and Dromio slip into the city, every separation and meeting between them brings inexplicable misunderstanding, and they soon fear the presence of witchcraft. When they meet with two beautiful sisters, Euphemio is roundly berated by Adriana, who claims him as her philandering husband. Eventually he gives way and goes in to dine with Adriana and Luciana, whilst Dromio is posted to keep watch at the gate.

Meanwhile, Adriana's real husband, Euphemio of Ephesus, is counselled by the goldsmith Angelo from whom he has ordered a chain. His servant Dromio is attacked by a raving woman, Lesbia, who claims to be his long-abandoned wife. The Ephesians are horrified when they are refused entry to their own home, and they angrily attempt to beat down the door. Mounting confusion turns to mayhem, and everyone fears the arrival of the night-watch.

Act II

Further misunderstandings develop around the delivery of Angelo's gold chain, and Euphemio of Ephesus tries to track down his 'unfaithful' wife. The Syracusans remain perplexed when everybody addresses them – strangers in the city — by name. Euphemio of Syracuse attempts to woo Luciana, who is incredulous at the duplicity of her 'brother-in-law'. Euphemio of Ephesus is arrested for failing to pay for the chain, and in prison Angelo disguised as a magician tries to exorcise the 'lunatic'. Lesbia at last comes across her lost husband, Dromio of Syracuse, and confronts him with their child, Dromia.

In the town square, as the Duke prepares for the execution of Aegeon, Adriana petitions him for help over the irrational behaviour of her husband. When all parties gather, the true extent of the comedy of errors is revealed.

[Synopsis Source: Bampton Classical Opera]