L’AMMALATO IMMAGINARIO (‘The Hypochondriac’)by Leonardo Vinci

L’ammalato immaginario is a short eighteenth-century opera by one of the best-known composers of the so-called “Neapolitan School”, Leonardo Vinci. Despite the fact that he died at the age of 36, Vinci’s works were rich and varied enough that he was famous outside Italy for his style and originality. L’ammalato immaginario is a short, light opera, or intermezzo, which would have been typically performed as a form of ‘comic relief’ between acts of more grandiose and dramatic operas to ease tensions and entertain the public. Vinci’s comic (and, at times, sacrilegious) tone is recognisable in this short opera which combines disguise, trickery, and subterfuge with sincere feeling and sound entertainment. The nod to Molière in the opera’s title and in some of the characters is evident – though Vinci distances himself from the dramaturge in his vision and language. Nonetheless, the Little Opera Festival is delighted to commemorate the great comic writer by including Vinci’s opera in our programme, in the 350th anniversary of his death.

The cast includes young talent from the Italian musical scene alongside well-established performers within the lyric tradition. The stage director Fillippo Rotondo (Accademia per l’Opera di Verona) and the musical director Eric Foster (Accademia della Scala) are both under 35 and re-interpret the eighteenth-century work with an innovative and revolutionary twist. They transpose Vinci’s story to an Italian TV studio set in the 1950s, drawing on images from Italy’s national broadcasting service archives and libraries (RAI Teche). It is a sincere and amusing homage to a genre of television drama which, in Italy, played an important role in the public’s cultural and theatrical education by bringing theatrical works and actors of great calibre (such as De Filippo, Sbragia, and Albertazzi) onto the small screen.

The opera’s protagonists are played by baritone Gabriele Ribis and soprano Eva Corbetta, who are both experienced performers on the Italian and international operatic stage. Ribis, who is also the artistic director of the Little Opera Festival as well as cultural director and consultant, boasts a twenty-year-long career and a diverse repertoire (from Rossini to Verdi, and from Puccini to Wagner). In Italy, he is no stranger to the famous and important theatres, and most recently trod the boards of the San Carlo theatre in Naples last winter. Corbetta has sung in all of the major Italian circuits, ranging from Mozart to the Italian tradition of the ‘bel canto’ and operatic realism. She will next appear at the Massimo Bellini Theatre in Catania in Il tramonto (‘Sunset’) by Zakaria Paliasvili (June 2023).

The production of Il malato immaginario debuted in April 2023 at the Kragujevac’s Imperial Theatre in Serbia.



Stage Director: Filippo Rotondo
Costumes: Ilaria Papis
Soloists: Eva Corbetta, Gabriele Ribis
Go! Borderless Orchestra
Musical Director: Eric Foster


In partnership with the Belgrado Italian Institute of Culture and the Kragujevac Music Centre, the GO! Borderless Orchestra was born from a collaboration between the Lojze Bratuž Kulturni centre, the Emil Komel Slovene Centre for the Musical Education, Glasbeno društvo NOVA, and Glasbena šola Nova Gorica.



Saturday 24th June, 9.30pm
Palazzo Locatelli, Cormons (GO)


Tickets: €15

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