La finta giardiniera at Drottningholm – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|Libretto likely by Raniero da Calzabigi and revised by Marco Coltellini.
The first version supposedly Giuseppe Petrosellini, second version Johann Franz Joseph Stierle the older.
First version 13 januari 1775 at Opernhaus St.Salvador in Münich; the second version in: May 1780 at Komödienstadl in Augsburg
Time and place:The city of Lagonero in Italy during the first half of the 1800-century.
Marquise Onesti and her bodyguard, Roberto, acquire work as gardeners at a wedding feast. They call themselves Sandrina and Nardo.
The mayor, Don Anchise, has taken lodgings in the town’s eighteenth-century theatre in order to celebrate his niece Arminda’s marriage to Count Belfiore. During the chaotic preparations we see the mayor casting covetous glances at the new flower girl.
The mayor’s general factotum, Serpetta, does what she can to hinder him. She herself hopes one day to be the mayor’s wife.
Serpetta is courted in her turn by the garden worker, Nardo, whom he rejects since she thinks he seems a bad catch.
A guest calling himself Don Ramiro has also turned up at the feast and with sorrow in his heart he hunts for the bride-to-be, Arminda.
Everything is checked out and ready for the wedding festivities. The mayor dances attendance on Sandrina ever more persistendy, and she turns him away as far as she can.
At last the longed-for Count Belfiore arrives, but he does not find favour with the prospective bride, Arminda. She treats him sourly and shows that she, indeed, will want to wear the trousers in any possible future marriage. The mayor, who has a weakness for the count’s ancestry, tries to smoother over her behaviour.
Serpetta provokes Nardo and boasts of the many suitors she has captivated. Nardo likes her intriguing manner and allows her to have her way.
The theatre captures them with its eighteenth century magic. They are all enticed into a dreamlike forest, where Sandrina and Belfiore meet and Arminda stumbles upon Don Ramiro. Their old conflicts and passions come to light. The mayor, Serpetta and Nardo are drawn into their game. Confusion, frustration and lust swell into a boiling maelstrom.
Arminda has seen the way Belfiore has danced attendance on the flover girl and gives him a good dressing down. He defends himself lamely. Serpetta now takes delight in Nardo’s importunate flirting and shows him to play out the whole of his register of tricks as her cavalier.
Sandrina calls Belfiore to account, but they are interrupted by the mayor, who chases away the count and tries to force the flower girl to submit to him. She flees.
Arminda comes in with Belfiore seized by the scruff of his neck and wants, despite all, to go through with the wedding. They are stopped by a despatch from the police, who demand that the mayor take the count into custody and interrogate him about the disappearance of Violante Onesti. Count Belfiore is indeed her suspected murderer.
The mayor postpones the wedding.
Don Ramiro approaches Arminda, but she rejects him with violent force. One guesses that behind her overreaction lie genuine feelings and Don Ramiro’s hope is rekindled.
Count Belfiore is called to account. The mayor acts as judge. Belfiore gets entangled in explanations and finally confesses that he stabbed Marquise Onesti.
Sandrina then comes in, dressed in Violante’s clothes. She declares that she is, in fact, Violante Onesti and still alive. Count Belfiore is therefore innocent of murder. Everyone disperses, full of doubts.
Belfiore is ecstatic, but when they are alone Sandrina takes back her confession. She says she only looks like Violante and relates what Violante said before she died. Now Belfiore is at his wits’ end.
Serpetta relates that Arminda is to have Sandrina kidnapped and married off to a nasty, remote spot in order to get her rival out of the way.
The theatre’s magic box is transformed into a dreadful dwelling, and this is where the terror-stricken Sandrina ends up. All she sees is fearful scenes and creatures around her. The others are dragged off there as if bewitched and their conflicting violent emotions come to the surface in the darkness. They are in the grip of madness.
They awaken as if after a cleansing bath. The day of reckoning is at hand.
Nardo tries to get Violante and Belfiore to see each other without any play-acting or dissemblance. The mayor fobs off Serpetta for good and chases her away. He tries, also, to talk sense into Arminda and Don Ramiro. It is not, however, until Don Ramiro shows that without Arminda the only alternative is death that Arminda chooses to show her real feelings.
The planned wedding feast is called off.
Violante and Belfiore are about to leave, each in their own direction. At the last minute, however, they check themselves, forgive one another, and are united. Arminda requests of the mayor that she might marry her Don Ramiro and when Serpetta sees that the rustic Nardo is in actual fact the stylish Roberto she takes him to her heart. The mayor has to be content with guzzling down wedding cake.