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Il matrimonio segreto 1984

July 14 - August 24, 1984

Cimarosa views a family’s domestic situation…

…and the intrigues that result from a secret marriage in this eighteenth century opera buffa.

Music By
Domenico Cimarosa
Text By
Giovanni Bertati, from George Colman the elder and David Garrick's A Clandestine Marriage


Act I

Carolina, a daughter of the wealthy Geronimo of Bologna, is secretly married to Paolino, his young assistant. She encourages her husband to reveal their marriage (“For love that’s lived in peace, No greater joy can know”) to the other household members: her older sister, Elisetta; the lady of the house, Fidalma, who is Geronimo’s widowed sister; and the master himself, Geronimo. Paolino agrees to do so, but this disclosure does not occur until later, after a series of events have complicated all their lives in this comedy of errors.

The slightly deaf Geronimo appears and learns from Paolino, who has received news in a letter that the English Count Robinson is on his way to Bologna with the intention of making Elisetta his fiancée. Excited over this news, Geronimo immediately tells the other family members, which incites a jealous argument between the sisters. Fidalma, annoyed, chastises them, and the argument ends; however, she admits to Elisetta that she herself is enamored but will not divulge the person of her desires. Geronimo anxiously awaits the Count’s arrival.

The Count arrives and expounds at great length to all the household, meanwhile mistaking both Fidalma and Carolina, in turn, for the intended Elisetta. In secret, however, he expresses to Paolino his deep concern over the ensuing marriage with Elisetta but reveals his favorable interest in a possible union with Carolina; this obviously causes Paolino great consternation. The Count soon proposes to Carolina, but she politely declines his offer, listing the faults she possesses.

A banquet that is being planned by Geronimo in the Count’s honor fails to come about for a number of rather confusing reasons: Elisetta, becoming aware of the Count’s protestations of love to her sister, Carolina, reproaches them both; an argument ensues, but once again, Fidalma silences everyone by announcing the arrival of Geronimo. Slightly aware of the fuss, he makes an effort to find out what is happening, but because of his deafness and the fact that everyone is talking at once, Geronimo is unable to continue with his plans.

Act II

Geronimo, left alone with Count Robinson, is finally able to make some sense of the situation. He discerns that the Count is not completely contented with his engagement to Elisetta. Together, they come to an agreement whereby the Count will give up half the promised dowry if Geronimo will allow him to marry his younger daughter. Elisetta, who is jealous of her younger sister’s charms, attempts to discredit her to the Count. When Paolino learns of this new arrangement, he naturally despairs and throws himself on the mercy of Fidalma. She, already smitten with his charms, interprets this as a show of affection and says that she will accept his proposal in marriage. In desperation, Paolino faints in Fidalma’s arms; Carolina enters and misinterprets this supposed intimacy for the real thing. A slightly revived Paolino attempts to explain the situation to Carolina after Fidalma departs to fetch a glass of water. She is reluctant to believe him, but he is eventually able to convince her of his fidelity, singing, ”Dearest wife, be assured, Love will be on our side.”

Pretending to be cruel and uncaring, the Count tries but fails to persuade Elisetta to break their engagement. Meanwhile, she and Fidalma plot to get rid of their rival, Carolina, by convincing Geronimo to send her to a convent. Fidalma now believes that Carolina is also in love with Paolino, but she is still unaware of their marriage. Carolina, learning the plans of the two women, mourns her situation and contemplates a life without her husband. As she is about to reveal the truth of her marriage to the Count, who is commiserating with her situation, Fidalma and Geronimo discover them together; this only serves to confirm their feelings. Geronimo agrees to send Carolina to a convent and dispatches Paolino with a letter to the Mother Superior.

Paolino and Carolina plan to elope to a faraway relative’s house until the situation becomes calmer. Elisetta overhears this conversation on the evening of their departure and assumes that Carolina is in the Count’s room. She rouses the household, and they all, led by Geronimo, summon the Count from his room. He emerges but is quite alone, to the dismay and surprise of all. Elisetta then orders Carolina from her room, and she and Paolino emerge together, announcing that they were married some time earlier. They are forgiven, and once again, Elisetta becomes the Count’s objective, which satisfies Geronimo’s desire to have him as a family member. Fidalma resigns herself to the situation, and as the Count is welcomed into the family, happiness prevails once again.


Rockwell Blake headshot

Rockwell Blake



Erie Mills headshot

Erie Mills



Santa Fe Opera

Renato Capecchi



Janice Hall

Janice Hall



Judith Christin headshot

Judith Christin



Claude Corbeil

Claude Corbeil


Count Robinson

Kenneth Montgomery headshot

Kenneth Montgomery


Santa Fe Opera

Renato Capecchi


Santa Fe Opera

Steven Rubin

Scenic Designer

James Ingalls headshot

James F. Ingalls

Lighting Designer