GIACOMO Rossini was only 20 years old when he wrote his short comic opera La Scala di Seta (The Silken Ladder) and while its story is full of youthful fun, there is no trace of the beginner in the music.
It was brought to the intimate surroundings of the Brownsword Hall in Poundbury by Opera Holloway, and performed to a packed and appreciative audience on a beautiful summer evening, when all it lacked was a place for an operatic picnic.
Giulia, ward of Dormont, has secretly married Dorvil, but her guardian has another suitor in mind.
Every night she lets a silken ladder down to the ground for her husband to climb, but things are getting complicated.
Dormont brings Blansac to court Giulia, and she decides to palm him off instead on her cousin Lucilla, at the same time as tricking the devoted servant Germano into a would be rendezvous which will make poor Dorvil jealous.
Midnight comes, and up climbs Dorvil, followed by Blansac, into a room where Germano is already hiding to get some tips on courtship. Lucilla is there too, and when Dormont arrives it’s time to dispel the confusion and sing your heart out.
This witty and energetic production, directed by Fiona Williams, was delightfully performed by this young company of opera singers at the start of their careers.
Callie Swarbrick’s beautifully sung Giulia was wittily matched by Sian Cameron’s Lucilla, and Shaun Aquilina and Jon Stainsby made the very most of Germano and Blansac in this sadly seldom performed romp.
If you get the chance to see this company again, take it.