Pergolesi's operas may not be among my favourites, but they are important in the development of opera buffa so I appreciate them highly. I do prefer La Serva Padrona to Lo Frate 'Nnamorato, however the latter is still a lot of fun and has music that is not just beautiful to listen to, but also has the baroque and Pergolesi style all over it. This production from La Scala is just gorgeous. The production values are simple and all the better for it with the pastel colours looking very attractive. The stage direction is done in a skillful and intelligent way which ensures that the comedy never flags. The video directing and picture and sound quality are top notch. Musically, it is just as good and even better I'd say. The orchestra is a very small part of the La Scala orchestra, which was wholly appropriate for the style. They play absolutely beautifully, maybe the strings are more modern than expected but the lush, stylish sound they make makes you forget that. Riccardo Muti conducts with his usual brio, tenderness and superb musicianship. The performances are all superb, Lo Frate 'Nnamorato has a large cast and everybody delivers. For me the two standouts were Alessandro Corbelli and Nuccia Focile. Corbelli has a real warmth of tone to his voice and has his usual characterful energy and impeccable comic timing. Focile is in a role that was originally written for a castrato, true of most operas and their performances in the baroque era, and vocally and dramatically she does do a marvellous job of it. Amelia Felle also gives a charming performance, though her rendition of the opening Act 3 aria is a slight disappointment in comparison to the rest. In conclusion, a gorgeous production. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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