La Scala: Li zite ‘ngalera

A Part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series

For cast lists and playlists, please visit the Opera Series Overview.

The exceptional La Scala returns to the WFMT Opera Series this season, presenting Leonardo Vinci’s Li zite ‘ngalera.

The project to rediscover and relaunch the Italian baroque repertoire, triumphantly inaugurated in 2021 with La Calisto, a Venetian title by Francesco Cavalli, now lands on Neapolitan soil with Li zite ‘ngalera: Bernardo Saddumene’s irresistible verses in the local dialect set to music by Leonardo Vinci. Disguises and misunderstandings make for engaging comedy while the felicitous settings and characters are entrusted to the talents of Leo Muscato, who recently won the hearts of the La Scala audience with a new Barbiere di Siviglia, and to the musical flair of a specialist of the calibre of Andrea Marcon. The cast is youthful, spontaneous, and Neapolitan mother-tongue, featuring Cecilia Molinari, Francesca Pia Vitale, Francesca Aspromonte, and Marco Filippo Romano.


The action is set in Vietri, near Salerno. In front of Col’Agnolo’s barbershop, Ciccariello, the errand boy, is sweeping the pavement and singing a song, while Ciomma Palummo, Ciommetella, is intent on her lacework. The aging barber is in love with her and courts her, but to no avail. In the distance, Carlo Celmino, a gentleman from Sorrento, is out for a stroll. He has previously abandoned his former love, Belluccia, the daughter of Federico Mariano, the captain of a Sicilian galley. For fear of her father’s reaction, Carlo has fled Sorrento, seeking safety in the Vietri, where he has fallen in love with the beautiful Ciommetella. But he is in despair, since his love is unrequited.

In the meantime, Belluccia, who is still in love with Carlo, has abandoned her father’s house and has come to Vietri in search of her beloved, hoping to rekindle the old flame and to regain her lost honour. She dons men’s clothing and assumes the false identity of Peppariello. In this disguise, she causes Ciommetella, believing her to be a man, to fall in love with her. Then, Belluccia, dressed as a man, also becomes the object of attention of an elderly relative of Ciommetella, Meneca Vernillo. Meneca is not resigned to her advancing years and still feels romantic urges, and pursues the disguised Belluccia. The situation is further complicated when Meneca’s son, Titta Castagna, also falls madly in love with Ciommetella.

Belluccia comes across her beloved Carlo and recognizes him immediately; he, however, believes her to have died after his abandonment of her and fails to see through her male disguise. Belluccia, seeing that he has fallen for Ciommetella, does not reveal her identity to him.

Meanwhile, Federico Mariano, Belluccia’s father, has brought his galley to the Bay of Salerno to take shelter from a storm, and has come ashore at Vietri. Federico, accompanied by Assan, his trusted Turkish slave, meets and recognizes both Carlo and his daughter Belluccia. He threatens to kill Carlo to avenge the insult of his daughter’s abandonment, but Belluccia generously intervenes for her lover, telling her father that the gentleman has officially promised to marry her. The two young people receive Federico’s forgiveness and board his ship to return home and celebrate their marriage. And so, they leave the place with the memory of a betrothed couple “on the galley.”

Summary and synopsis courtesy of La Scala.


About the Host:
Lisa Flynn has been a program host and producer for WFMT since 1991. She presents The New Releases and has hosted many programs for the WFMT Radio Network, including War Letters (which won the 2002 Peter Lisagor Award) and a series of live broadcasts from Salzburg to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday in 2006. As WFMT’s midday weekday announcer, Lisa hosts live studio performances and interviews guest artists including Renée Fleming, John Adams, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, John Eliot Gardiner, and many others. Before coming to Chicago, Lisa presented classical music at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at WMFE and WUCF in Orlando, Florida. She holds a music degree from the University of Central Florida.


This program is a part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series, a series designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts to fill out the year with great Opera content. The series begins in June and lasts until December.


Category: Operas
Duration: 2-hour / Varies by Opera
Frequency: Flexible
Availability: 07/29/2023 - 07/29/2023

PRX Subscribe