Lyric operas in Neapolitan dialect: Aida di Scafati


When Verdi’s Aida was performed in Naples for the first time in 1873, his parody (at the time called “vaudeville”) was promptly prepared in the Teatro La Fenice in Naples. This is Aida di Scafati, a comic opera in a prologue and three acts, belonging precisely to the genre of comic parody of famous operas that characterized the theaters of Naples in the mid-nineteenth century.

These kind of works were composed by excellent professionals, former students of the Naples
Conservatory, and had a wide success but, at the end of that time, they fell into oblivion.

Many of these works, never taken up modernly, are preserved in the library of the Naples Conservatory,
among thousands of musical treasures. They represent a unique opportunity to rediscover the reception of the great nineteenth-century opera masterpieces by the general public through a subtle comic vein.

Aida di Scafati by Luigi Matteo Fischetti, with libretto by Enrico Campanelli, was entirely in Neapolitan
dialect and performed for the first time on 11 June 1873 at Teatro La Fenice in Naples for a festive
audience. It was then performed over 100 times in Naples and revived in other Italian cities for many years.

Listeners can recognize the citation of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous melodies.

The rediscovery of the historical importance of these works has given rise to new representations. Aida di Scafati was given its first performance in modern times in October 2014 in the court theater of the Royal Palace of Naples in a production organized by the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella. It was then
performed at the Teatro Mercadante in Altamura in December 2015.

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