Love’s Luggage Lost

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The best Rossini farce you’ve never heard of!

Rossini’s gem of a farce is packed with catchy melodies and romantic arias, appealling to young and old alike. Updated to the late 1920’s, and sung in Amanda Holden’s witty English translation, this is a really accessible opera.

Picture the scene; circa 1929, a pub just outside Oxford, rain pouring down, and in walks a handsome young lord. Already in the pub is a dapper chap with his valet, and the two men get talking and drinking together. The lord leaves a little the worse for wear, and picks up the wrong suitcase. Now the dapper chap has the lord’s suitcase, a picture of his fiancée (whom the lord has never met), her address and some posh clothes to win her over. The race is on to see who gets to woe her first, the real suitor or the suave opportunist….

Chaos and comedy combine as two suitors arrive at a debutant’s apartment, both insisting they are her husband to be. Packed with catchy melodies and romantic arias, Rossini’s gem of a farce, updated to the 1930’s, combines the musical sparkle of “The Barber of Seville” with the wit and elegance of Jeeves and Wooster!

[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”left”]”Love’s Luggage Lost sparkles alone merrily… very much a team effort, brimming with life and there was excellent backing from the orchestra.”

Exeter Express & Echo[/blockquote]


What’s in a name?
“Love’s Luggage Lost” is Hatstand Opera’s title for “L’Occasione fa il Ladro”, or “The Opportunity for a Thief”. This farce was written for the San Moisè Theatre in Venice in the autumn of 1812, and forms a set with “La Scala di Seta”, “La Pietra del Paragone”, and “ Il Signor Bruschino”.

“L’Occasione” is an early work, which came hot on the heels of Rossini’s success with “La Pietra del Paragone” at La Scala two months before. An account in “Gionale dopartimentale dell’Adriatico” suggested that Rossini wrote the music in only eleven days. Despite a lukewarm reception at its opening, the piece became a firm favourite, holding its own in Italian opera houses.

Rossini the recycler
“L’Occasione” is packed full of pre-echoes of “Il barbière di Siviglia”, probably one of the most popular comic operas in today’s repertoire. “Il barbière” was written in 1816, but Rossini ‘recycled’ bits of “L’Occasione” in the new work, most noticably the storm music used in the earlier opera as a scene-setting prelude at the beginning, and in the later work as a crucial dramatic break before the final elopement of Rosina and Count Almaviva.

For the real music buff, the earlier storm music’s penultimate note is a natural, giving a slightly dark mood, whereas in its revised version, it is sharpened to give a brighter finish to the rising stage. Little pre-eches exist elsewhere too, such as the beginning of the first trio and close harmony in the first major ensemble for the two girls used in the first act finale of the later work for Berta and Rosina.


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Love’s Luggage Lost


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