Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 – 1736) was an
Italian composer, violinist and organist born at Iesi,
Pergolesi and studied music there under a local
musician, Francesco Santini. In 1725 he travelled to
Naples where he studied under Gaetano Greco and
Francesco Feo among others. He spent most of his brief
life working for aristocratic patrons like the Colonna
principe di Stigliano, and duca Marzio IV Maddaloni
"La Serva Padrona" (The Servant Turned Mistress) is an
opera buffa by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 –
1736) to a libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico, after
the play by Jacopo Angello Nelli. The opera is only 45
minutes long and was originally performed as an
intermezzo between the acts of a larger serious opera.
It was originally an intermezzo to Pergolesi's opera
seria, Il prigionier superbo (The Proud Prisoner). The
two were premiered on 5 September 1733, the first
performance after an earthquake in Naples had caused
all theatres to be closed, and celebrated the birthday
of the Empress of Habsburg.
“Sempre in contrasti” (“Always in contrast”) is a da
capo aria sung by Uberto at the beginning of the opera.
He complains that Serpina, his servant, was late in
bringing him his chocolate and now he is leaving and
won’t receive it. He tells Serpina that he does not
like waiting for things.
Pergolesi captured Serpina and Uberto’s strained
relationship in this aria through the use of short
rhythmic motifs (themes). Listen for the words “e qua e
là”, “e su e giù” and “e sì e no”. These phrases depict
the constant arguing between the two characters.
Although originally written for solo voice (bass), viol
& continuo, I created this arrangement for French Horn
& string Quartet (Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass).