This Sunday night February 11 on the Lyric Stage, we have Christoph Gluck's Le Cinesi, The Chinese Women. Gluck wrote the music for this one act in 1755 to entertain the Austrian royal family at the manor house of one of their noble friends. It is of style that makes it an early example of what became opera buffa.
The libretto by Pietro Metastasio is not very complicated. Three Chinese women, Sivene, Lisinga, and Tangia are welcoming home Silango, who is Lisinga's brother, who is just back from a trip to Paris. They decide to entertain him with arias in contrasting operatic styles. Linsinga sings a tragic scene as Andromache, and Sivene and Silango sing a pastoral duet. They are attracted to each other and Tangia, who is envious of Silango's affection towards Sivene, sings a comic aria that pokes fun at a young Parisian dandy standing before a mirror - thus poking fun at Silango, who has apparently picked up some airs in France. In the end, the conclusion among the three is that each style has its drawbacks, after not a lot disagreement. That's about it for any dramatic conflict in this musically superb little opera.
Karen Erickson, Thomas Moser, Alexandrina Micheva, Marga Schiml and Thomas Moser are the four singers in the cast, and Lamberto Gardello conducts the Munich Radio Orchestra.