On Behalf of Wolf-Ferrari
Le donne curiose (Die neugierigen Frauen, The Curious Women), premiered in Munich in 1903, numbered among the greatest and earliest successes of the German-Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. No Wagnerian pathos and no turn-of-the-century bombast here: Wolf-Ferrari created this merry work based on a comedy by Carlo Goldoni in the spirit of a newly discovered rococo. The story of the inquisitive wives who behind the mysterious behavior of their husbands discover nothing but male culinary gluttony is a relatively simple subject in which the typical figures of the Italian comedy make their appearance: Pantalone, Arlecchino, and Colombina as relicts from the commedia dell’arte along with the comical but much more individual characters Ottavio, Beatrice, Lelio, and Eleonora and the young romantic couple Rosaura and Florindo. Wolf-Ferrari clearly characterizes this constellation of persons with recourse to various musical spheres, a comic and buffoonish one and a lyrical and romantic one. His Le donne curiose formed the basis of his world renown as a composer whose dramatic talent was always overshadowed by the subtle humor of his buffo operas. Ulf Schirmer once again presents a convincing case on behalf of this German-Italian composer.