Double Diva


  A pair of prima donnas

Bright laughing direction and individual performances which cannot fail to entertain  


La Dirindina, 1715 La Canterina, 1766

Joseph Haydn (1766)
Libretto Goldoni
English libretto by
Carl Zytowski Domenico Scarlatti (1715)
Libretto: Girolamo Gigli
English libretto by
John Flinders
from a translation by Caroline Anderson


The Prima Donna has always been a phenomenon, both as a great interpreter of opera and as an archetype of femininity - tempestuous, demanding, manipulative and outrageously alluring. In this pair of one act operas, two Prima Donnas are illustrated in their full glory by composers who were all too familiar with the type. The divas' complicated relationships with adoring music masters and other admirers prompt full demonstrations of the characteristics that contribute to the myth.

Domenico Scarlatti is best known for his harpsichord music, but he began his career in opera.
La Dirindina is probably the earliest opera about opera and its dramatic construction is way ahead of its time. La Canterina, written about fifty years later, is Haydn's first Italian opera. Haydn wrote some 20 operas and his more symphonic style makes an interesting contrast with that of the earlier Italian.

Directed by Jack Edwards
Musical Director Peter Holman
Design Robin Linklater
Photographs Caroline Anderson

An exhilaratingly funny evening.....
La Dirindina...a wonderfully animated score, flying up soaring steps of notes and down again with vastly pleasing effect

La Canterina....the music is as witty as the words [including] a tragic aria which could have come from the young Mozart.

Eastern Daily Press

These were two enjoyable stagings...of works concerning the idiosyncrasies of the operatic soprano, a subject which provides as much scope for comedy now as it did then. Some things never change...
The translators had injected just the right balance of innuendo and ribald humour into their English translations of the librettos.

Opera Magazine

Although the material was essentially frivolous, it was acted with such exquisite clarity, that few could fail to be amused...Opera Restor'd are to be applauded for delivering convincing performances of two operas which have been ignored for many years.

Essex County Standard

Musical Standards are crisp, lively and well-disciplined...An enchanting double bill

The Observer

A delightful accessible entertainment
Arwel Treharne Morgan as Don Pelagio...is a gifted comedian as well as a fine singer

The Stage  




Double Diva La Dirindina