"A l9th century French farce at a Medieval castle, with a score composed by an Italian -- the result finally rendered in a modern, tongue–in-cheek English language libretto that captures the hectic high-speed antics of Rossini's musically brilliant 1828 opera."
-- Palo Alto Times
High shenanigans and dark mischief! It happened one night in a medieval castle.
The crusades are in full swing -- offstage, let me quickly add. By a curious reversal, these are wars in which only the rich and influential are sent overseas to fight. That being the case, one may ask with indignation, why are virile, healthy, affluent young men like Count Ory and his buddies hanging around home? Why are they not off doing their sacred duty, looting cities, burning villages, slicing up heathen?
Alas, the answer does them little credit, though it does indicate a certain ingenuity. Bear in mind, the wives, sisters and sweethearts of the departed soldiers remain at home. A bright, energetic youth in search of conquest and adventure does not have to go overseas to find it.
In this particular case, the women left behind are living isolated and unprotected in a heavily fortified castle. Virtuous to a fault, in the eyes of some, they have sworn to forego the company of men until their husbands, brothers or fiances return from war. In short, they are asking for a grand opera.
The challenge to an energetic, unscrupulous, hot blooded rascal with unlimited means like Count Ory, is self-evident. A lovely countess locked inside a castle - what could be more irresistible? And where there's a will, there must be a way ...
The perfect ingredients for an uproarious Rossini comedy. A feast of delectable melody and toe-tapping rhythms, verve and lyricism spiced with coloratura -- virtuoso arias, lively duets and rousing ensembles with massive crescendos, culminating in an erotic game of blind man's buff, hailed by no less than Berlioz as the composer's "absolute masterpiece".
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