Work of the Week – Giovanni Paisiello: La serva padrona

In 1920, impresario Sergei Diaghilev commissioned the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi to revise Giovanni Paisiello’s opera buffa, La Serva padrona, for his Ballets Russes. Respighi shortened Paisiello’s work, reorchestrated it, and even added choir in several places. Also he added a ballet finale at Diaghilev’s request, based on a selection of ballet music by Paisiello composed during his tenure at the court of Catherine II in St. Petersburg. A performance of this revised version of La Serva padrona, however, never materialised.

   A few years ago, conductor, composer, and musicologist Dr. Elia Andrea Corazza undertook to realise Diaghilev’s vision. The resulting critical edition, which expands Respighi’s piano reduction into a full score for the first time, is now available from Schott music. Notes by Diaghilev in his own copies of Paisiello’s original score helped Corazza to reconstruct Respighi’s version of the opera. The world première will take place on 5 August 2014 in the court of the Piccoli Teatro del Baraccano in Bologna, conducted by Corazza in a production by Paolo Billi. The production can be seen two more times on 6 and 7 August.

   Read the full article, forthcoming performances and the full score on Schott’s website.