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Music Text

Libretto by the composer and Christopher Hassall after Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy (E,G). Performing Edition (1991) by David Drew.


Major roles: S,2M,2T,2Bar,B; small roles: T,B,3speakers;
chorus; dancers
3Chin.tom-t/Korean tpl.bl/tamb/SD/BD/cyms/2susp.cyms/tam-t-

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

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


World stage premiere
Teatro Lirico Nacional, Madrid
Felicity Palmer, David Rendall, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Richard van Allan, Dir: Jose-Carlos Plaza
Conductor: Antoni Ros Marba
Company: Madrid Opera


DON JEROME, a nobleman of Seville Bass
DON FERDINAND, his son, in love with Donna Clara Baritone
DONNA LUISA, his daughter Soprano
THE DUENNA, her chaperone Mezzo-Soprano
DON ANTONIO, in love with Donna Luisa Tenor
DON ISAAC, a Portuguese Jew, Don Jerome's intended son-in-law Baritone
LOPEZ, servant to Don Jerome's household Speaking role
Servant to Don Antonio Speaking role
Maid to Donna Luisa Speaking role
Gypsy Soprano
Brethren of Deadly Sin Tenor/Baritone
Ladies and Gentlemen of Fashion, Townspeople, Beggars SATB
Strumpet, Cavalier, Bawd, 2 Beaux, Friars, Wench, Cardinal and Priests, Lady in a Sedan Chair, Dancers and Players, Gypsy Children Non-singing parts
Time and Place

Seville, 18th century, between dawn and evening


The Seville merchant Don Jerome intends to marry off his daughter Luisa to Don Isaac, a wealthy but unprepossessing Portuguese Jew, and has driven away her true love, the penniless Don Antonio. Meanwhile Donna Clara, whom Luisa’s brother Ferdinand loves, has run away to avoid being immured in a convent by her tyrannical stepmother. Luisa conspires with her formidable Duenna to fool Don Jerome: they exchange clothes and provoke him to evict the supposed Duenna and lock up ‘Luisa’, thus freeing the true Luisa to look for Antonio, and lining up the Duenna to win her fortune by fascinating and enveigling the hapless Isaac.
Searching for Antonio, Luisa meets up with the runaway Clara; then encounters and enlists the aid of Isaac (who has never seen her before) by pretending to be Clara in love with Antonio. Seeing a way of disposing of his rival, Isaac agrees to bring Antonio to her. His own courting of the ugly ‘Luisa’ (the disguised Duenna) takes a turn for the better when she tells him she will only marry him if they elope together, and he realizes that thus he can avoid making an expensive marriage settlement. Having established ‘Clara’ (the real Luisa) in his lodgings, he brings Antonio to her and is overjoyed when the lovers agree that ‘Luisa’ (The Duenna) can be his.

Complications ensue when Ferdinand believes that his friend Antonio is about to filch his beloved Clara; but in the end both pairs of lovers are married at a priory, the Duenna gets Isaac, and all schemes are revealed and celebrated at the house of the thoroughly outwitted Don Jerome.


Comic, Poetic, Romantic

Recommended Recording

Claire Powell/Neill Archer/Richard van Allan/Adrian Clarke/Eric Roberts/Susannah Glanville/Opera North/English Northern Philharmonia/Antoni Ros Marbà
Chandos CHAN 9520

Click here to purchase this CD set from Amazon


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