The Friends' Opera

naples in the 18th century


Le Astuzie Femminili (Feminine Wiles) by Domenico Cimarosa

Sung in English by New Chamber Opera and The Band of Instruments

At New College, Oxford

5pm Pre Performance talk by Prof. Michael Burden, Director of New Chamber Opera

6.30pm opera performance in the Wardens Garden (open from 6pm)

The opera,  is a dramma giocoso ( a drama with jokes) in four acts with a libretto by Giuseppe Palomba.  Composed in the Neapolitan style it was premiered in Naples in August 1794 and remained very popular during the first quarter of the 19th Century, with a London performance in 1804.  This New College performance provides a rare opportunity to see a high spirited opera which is not often performed these days.

The story line features Bellina, an orphan and the difficulties her father's will places on her and her guardian Don Romualdo: she can only claim her large dowry if she marries the crude and cowardly Don Gianpaolo Lasagna. The plot focuses on the efforts to rescue Bellina including those by two buffoons disguised as Hussars, whose incompetent disguise includes them speaking in wild and broken German.

The opera will be performed in the lovely surroundings of the Warden's Garden at New College, or in the chapel if wet. There will be a 75 minute interval for picnicking in the cloisters.


  • Tickets £44 to include a welcoming glass of sparkling wine in the cloister garden.  £3 for the pre performance talk.
  • Tickets will be on sale from 1st April 2022, here