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Music Text

Libretto by Gennarantionio Federico, translated into English by Seymour Barab (I,E)


S,B,mime; strings and continuo

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



SERPINA, his servant Soprano
VESPONE, another servant Mute
Time and Place

The house of Uberto, in eighteenth-century Italy


Uberto complains to his manservant, the deaf-mute Vespone, that his maidservant Serpina is extravagant. He comes up with a plan that will solve the problem – if he marries Serpina, she will be spending her own money, not just his, and so be more careful. Serpina rejects Uberto's proposal: he's really much too common – she has set her heart upon marrying royalty. Uberto is naturally disappointed. Vespone quickly and surreptitiously writes Uberto a note purporting to be from the Governor of the Province, who announces his intention of coming to view Serpina as a prospective bride. She looks forward to finding a genuinely wealthy husband, Uberto to that of the Governor's grateful patronage. The Governor (Vespone in disguise) then turns up, and silently woos Serpina, but Uberto's growing jealousy nearly provokes violence. Eventually, Serpina and Uberto realise that they are, in fact, made for one another, and thank Vespone for the part he has played in the ruse that has brought them together.



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