Viva la Diva
Viva la Diva
© Christina Baumann-Canaval

Viva la Diva

Gaetano Donizetti

Le convenienze e le inconvenienze teatrali / Adapted from plays by Simeone Antonio Sografi

Premiere 08/02/2020 / Salzburg State Theatre


An Opera buffa always promises high spirits on stage. In the case of “Viva la Diva”, this is even doubly true: Donizetti’s opera, whose original title translates as “Conventions and Inconveniences of the Stage”, tells the story of a theatre company trying to mount an opera. The evening’s performance thus encompasses two levels: that of the opera to be staged and that of the opera company with all its typical personalities. The singers are continually fighting with Italian temper over who has the most important role. The librettist and the composer are arguing over their own work with the becoming title “Romulus and Ersilia”. Everything is threatening to descend into chaos. The plot centres on Agata, an ageing diva, who announces at the height of the fighting that she herself will take on a role. Donizetti wrote the lead role of Agata for a baritone, which opens up another level of comedy. As the drama unfolds and the jealousies come to a head, it is up to la diva Agata to rescue the evening.

Donizetti chose a material that allowed him to compose both virtuosic and parodistic music. By shining a spotlight on the fights, vanities, financial difficulties and jealousies behind the scenes of the theatre he was able to combine and mock various traditional formats and contents. The opera became a great success after its world premiere in 1827 but was soon forgotten. Regular performances did not resume until 1963.

The Salzburg State Theatre produces its own version of the opera with a new translation by Andreas Fladvad-Geier, which revives the tradition of transferring the opera’s plot into a local setting to make the parody of the opera world even easier to recognize and appreciate: Viva la Diva!

In German and Italian with surtitles

Introductory Talk: 30 and 45 min before curtain up