|Allegra De Vita as Pippo and Rachele Gilmore as Ninetta|
Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival
The tale is slight. Ninetta, a servant, is accused of stealing silverware. Although she and her employers’ son, Giannetto, plan to marry, she is to be imprisoned. Despite the possibility of a reprieve, she thwarts the advances of the evil Mayor, which means she’ll be put to death. This kind of story, termed opera semiseria, seems to confound a modern audience. It’s the theatrical version of mixing savory and sweet, a practice more common in a 19th-century dish than in contemporary fare.