The Comedy of Errors
Music by Stephen Storace, 1786
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte; English translation by Arthur Jacobs
The Deanery Garden, Bampton, July 2000
The Orangery Garden, Westonbirt School, July 2001
|Solinus, Duke of Ephesus||Henry Herford|
|Aegeon, a merchant from Syracuse||Harry Brett-Jones|
|Euphemio of Syracuse, twin sons of Aegeon||Benjamin Hulett|
|Euphemio of Ephesus||David Murphy|
|Dromio of Syracuse, twins, servants of the two Euphemios||Mark Saberton|
|Dromio of Ephesus||Thomas Guthrie|
|Angelo, a goldsmith||Nicholas Merryweather|
|Adriana, wife of Euphemio of Ephesus||Catherine Hamilton|
|Luciana, her sister||Amanda Pitt|
|Lesbia, wife of Dromio of Syracuse||
(2000) Gilly French
(2001) Andrea Munro
(2001) Alexander Walker, Alexander Briger
(2000) Simon Over
|Directors||Jeremy Gray, Gillian Pitt|
|Orchestra (July 2001) Kirsten le Strange, Neil McTaggart violin; Morgan Goff viola; Nicki Davies 'cello; Ben Griffiths double bass; Anne Allen, John Lewis flute; Carolyn King, Sheila Nichols oboe; Verity Butler, Irene Bos clarinet; Simon Payne, Sarah Andrew bassoon; Lorna Dick, Edward Corn horn; Sean Hooke, Gary Howerth trumpet; Charles Giddings percussion|
A violent storm shipwrecks Euphemio of Syracuse and his servant - unluckily they have arrived at Ephesus where any Syracusan must pay a ransom or face execution. Meanwhile in the city the elderly Aegeon is under that very sentence. However, his story moves the Duke Solinus to grant him a day's remission: Aegeon had been searching for his twin sons (with their twin servants), one of whom had been lost in another storm many years ago.
When Euphemio and Dromio slip into the city, every separation and meeting between them brings inexplicable misunderstanding, and they soon fear the presence of witchcraft. When they meet with two beautiful sisters, Euphemio is roundly berated by Adriana, who claims him as her philandering husband. Eventually he gives way and goes in to dine with Adriana and Luciana, whilst Dromio is posted to keep watch at the gate.
Meanwhile, Adriana's real husband, Euphemio of Ephesus, is counselled by the goldsmith Angelo from whom he has ordered a chain. His servant Dromio is attacked by a raving woman, Lesbia, who claims to be his long-abandoned wife. The Ephesians are horrified when they are refused entry to their own home, and they angrily attempt to beat down the door. Mounting confusion turns to mayhem, and everyone fears the arrival of the night-watch.
Further misunderstandings develop around the delivery of Angelo's gold chain, and Euphemio of Ephesus tries to track down his 'unfaithful' wife. The Syracusans remain perplexed when everybody addresses them – strangers in the city – by name. Euphemio of Syracuse attempts to woo Luciana, who is incredulous at the duplicity of her 'brother-in-law'. Euphemio of Ephesus is arrested for failing to pay for the chain, and in prison Angelo disguised as a magician tries to exorcise the 'lunatic'. Lesbia at last comes across her lost husband, Dromio of Syracuse, and confronts him with their child, Dromia.
In the town square, as the Duke prepares for the execution of Aegeon, Adriana petitions him for help over the irrational behaviour of her husband. When all parties gather, the true extent of the comedy of errors is revealed.
A rare treat in an Oxfordshire country garden...
Independent 25 July 2000
To general astonishment...
From 'Opera' magazine, November 2000
'Opera' magazine, November 2000
Review by Malcolm Miller 20 August 2000
9 December 2000 Roderic Dunnett
'…beyond description beautiful'