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L’Infedeltà Delusa, by Franz Joseph Haydn

Cuvilliés Theatre, Bavarian State Opera / Munich / Music

“If I wish to hear a good opera,” Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Hungary is reported to have said, “I go to Eszterháza.” The reference is to the out-of-the-way “Hungarian Versailles” where Franz Joseph Haydn served as court composer to a Hungarian aristocrat. In fact, the great lady visited there only once, on which occasion she attended L’Infedeltà Delusa (Infidelity Outwitted), in which a desperate peasant girl assumes four disguises to foil an arranged marriage. As the director Marie-Eve Signeyrole sees it, the real subject isn’t infidelity but the agency of women in a patriarchal society. To drive her point home, she transfers this soufflé of a comedy to a girls’ boarding school, a hotbed of role-playing, and reassigns the bass role of a peasant lad to one of the boarders. The cast is drawn from the opera studio of the Bayerische Staatsoper, a launch pad for stars of tomorrow. And let’s not fail to mention the venue: the four-tier, red-and-gold Cuvilliés Theater in the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria, where Mozart’s breakout opera Idomeneo had its premiere in 1781, less than a decade after the Eszterháza premiere of L’Infedeltà Delusa. —M.G.

Cuvilliés Theatre Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany
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