Lo frate 'nnamorato (Neapolitan: The Brother in Love) is a three act commedia musicale (a form of opera buffa) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, to a Neapolitan libretto by Gennarantonio Federico, first performed in 1732.
The opera, written when the composer was only 22, is his first attempt at comic opera. (It was followed in 1733 by his better-known short opera, La serva padrona). The first performance was on 27 September 1732, at the Teatro Fiorentini, Naples. A successful run was halted by a severe earthquake, which closed the theatres in Naples until the autumn of 1733. It was re-presented during the 1734 carnival season.
27 September 1732
|Marcaniello, an elderly Neapolitan
|Ascanio, his adopted son
|Luggrezia, his daughter
|Carlo, a Roman
||Gian Battista Ciriaci
|Don Pietro, Marcaniello´s son
|Nina, his niece
||Teresa De Palma / Maria Caterina Negri
|Nena, his niece
|Vanella, Carlo's servant
|Cardella, Marcaniello's servant
||Maria Morante / Virginia Gasparrini
The opera is set in the house of Marcaniello in the Capodimonte region of Naples. Ascanio, the brother of Nina and Nena, was stolen by brigands in childhood and presumed lost; he was however found and adopted by Marcaniello. Now Nina and Nena are the wards of their uncle, the Roman Don Carlo. Don Carlo wishes to marry Luggrezia, the daughter of Marcaniello, who himself wishes to marry Nina and to take Nena as wife for his son, the foppish Don Pietro. Nina and Nena meanwhile have fallen in love with Ascanio, not realising their relationship. The two maids Vanella (servant of Carlo) and Cardella (servant of Marcaniello) comment on and take part in the various intrigues which ensue. Finally, in a duel with Carlo, the latter recognises Ascanio as his lost nephew by a birthmark on his arm. Ascanio and Luggrezia are now free to marry.
Teatro alla Scala production, conducted by Riccardo Muti (1989) (Opus Arte DVD)