An Italian girl in London? It’s an opera

An Italian girl in London? It’s an opera


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2021

Frankfurt is putting on an exceedingly rare production of L’italiana in Londra, by the Neapolitan composer Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801).

An instant success in the Teatro Valle in Rome in 1778, it was eclipsed, however by Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto in 1792 and faded out of sight.

Here’s the plot:
English Milord Arespingh fell in love with the young aristocrat Livia in Genua some years ago, but his father thwarted the lovers plans by ordering his son back to England and then packing him off to Jamaica. Livia followed her beloved but, unable to find him in London, she felt betrayed, and found employment in Madama Brillante’s hotel. In no time at all she was not only her boss’s confidante, but also the adored centre of attention for the male guests, including the Dutch merchant Sumers and Italian filou Don Polidoro. It’s not long before Arespingh turns up too. Livia, still incognito, only gradually becomes convinced of Arespingh’s innocence. When she’s about to
be arrested, Arespingh manages to expose Livia’s father as the mastermind and win the young woman’s hand again. Polidoro consoles himself with Madama Brillante, and Sumers is happy too.

The conductor is young British baton Leo Hussain. Cast includes Angela Vallone (Livia), Bianca Tognocchi (Madama Brillante), Theo
Lebow (Sumers), Iurii Samoilov (Milord Arespingh) and Gordon Bintner (Don Polidoro).



  • Peter Owen says:

    I’ve on occasion wish I had a more individual name but I’d draw the line at Arespingh – where on earth did that come from?

  • John Rice says:

    Bravi to the cast and conductor for venturing beyond the standard repertory. For a taste of Cimarosa’s charming music, from a performance about thirty-five years ago:

    One of the many cities where “L’italiana in Londra” was a hit was Vienna, where the cast included several of the singers who later created roles in “Le nozze di Figaro.” The musicologist Daniel Melamed has suggested that in the duet “Via resti servita, Madama Brillante” Da Ponte and Mozart were making a sly allusion to “L’italiana.”

  • Gary Freer says:

    was there a penalty shoot out?

  • Nik says:

    “L’italiana in Londra”, wow; it seems she got around a bit. Was that before or after she went to Algeri?