The Deserted Island
Sunday, February 5, 2017 — 2:30pm
An ITALIAN opera with English surtitles
On a deserted island, two pairs of lovers, separated by pirates, are reunited to melodic strains of incomparable charm and grace.
Kevin Mallon, Conductor
Using the crudest of tools, Costanza is on the verge of completing an inscription on a rock next to her cave: "Abandoned by the traitor Gernando, Constanza finished her days on these strange shores. Friendly traveler, unless you be a tiger, either avenge or pity…" Her young sister Silvia enters, rejoicing that a lost pet deer has returned, and asks why Costanza is unhappy, being on such a pleasant island far from the world wicked men she has often described, but cannot cheer her. Silvia, alone, watches a ship arrive and runs to ask her sister what monster swims and flies at the same time. Her way is blocked by Gernando and his friend Enrico, and she hides, not being able to overhear their conversation. Both had been captives of pirates, Gernando seized on this very beach while his wife was recovering from seasickness. They split up to search the island, Enrico first singing of his unending gratitude to his friend for helping his escape. Silvia has managed to get a good look at him, too kind-looking to be a man, but not wearing a skirt either. She marvels as well at a new kind of fear that causes gladness: yet more questions for Constanza.
Gernando discovers the inscription and believes Constanza dead. He declares his intention to end his days on the island to Enrico; the latter decides he must be carried off by force for his own good, and instructs two sailors to lay an ambush by a stream. He comes upon Silvia who, learning he is a man after all, pleads for her life, but he wins her trust and they part to fetch the other couple. Silvia remains long enough to sing an aria putting a name to her new emotion. When she leaves, Constanza arrives, singing of the slowness of time. When Gernando appears she faints and he hurries to fetch water from the stream. Enrico enters and explains all to her; Silvia arrives with Gernando, having explained everything to the sailors after they had seized him. Enrico proposes to Silvia and the work closes with a quartet-rondo with concertante writing for solo violin and cello.