Maestro Erin Helyard will conduct the Orchestra of the Antipodes at Sydney in July when Pinchgut Opera presents The Chimney Sweep (Der Rauchfangkebrer) by Antonio Salieri (1750 – 1825), a rarely performed opera helping to restore his good name and music to the opera scene. Described as a sexy, fun comedy filled with characters all shamelessly indulging their appetites, it should be a right royal R rated romp. This all new English version of Salieri’s singspiel (spoken dialogue alternating with lots of music) is after a libretto by Leopold Auenbrugger, with spoken text by Mark Gaal and lyrics by Andrew Johnston. It is an Australian first.
Bribery and blackmail, anarchic domestic affairs, and venality reign apparently. But most of all, this wonderful songfest is filled with more wonderful music from the 18th century that you’ve probably never heard before. Salieri gained his devlish reputation with the release of the movie Amadeus (1984), taken from Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play Amadeus, which scholars tell us is poetic license run amok, most of it not being part of any reality.
Born in Legnago, south of Verona in the Republic of Venice, Salieri spend much of his life and career working for the Habsburg Monarchy in Vienna. His music was a powerful influence on contemporary comoposers of his time, including Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt, who were all among his pupils and later became celebrities in their own right.
Salieri impressed Emperor Joseph II when he first played during his evening meal and the relationship between monarch and musician expanded from there and lasted until the King’s death in 1790. His first full opera was composed during the winter and carnival season of 1770. He wrote just one German singspiel Der Rauchfangkehrer or (The Chimney Sweep) which premiered in 1781 at the Burgtheatre in Vienna. The opera is all about an Italian chimney sweep who seduces the women of the household in which he works, in order to bargain for his future.
Set in the rich mansion of Frau von Habicht during the late 1800s, located in a German capital city, it is an amorous intrigue. Volpino, the chimney sweep, and Lisel, the cook, connive at receiving a dowry from their social betters, Herr von Bär and Herr von Wolf. Volpino accomplishes this task by enamoring Frau von Habicht and Fraule Nannette through music, later persuading the noblemen, who are wooing the ladies, to provide him money in order to disinterest the women. Should be quite a lark. The Chimney Sweep – Pinchgut Opera BUY TICKETS