Performed in the original French with Czech and English subtitles.
Premiere: 26th May 2017, Mahen Theatre
This capricious work about a gallant count determined to win the virtuous countess is based on a medieval ballad about Count Ory, a notorious womaniser, who ravaged the region around the River Loire. The lascivious count set about pleasuring the nuns in the convent of Formoutiers and got in with his associates disguised as a wandering nun. Of course in the 19th century Rossini could not present anything of that kind on the Parisian stage and so the abbess and the sisters were changed in the libretto by E. Scribe and C -G. Delestre -Poirson into a countess and her maids of honour, who are alone awaiting the return of their lords from the crusades, and they added a further intrigue with the page Isolier. These changes certainly did not detract from the humour and Le Comte Ory is among the best of Rossini’s forty operas, the musical ideas providing non -stop fi reworks from the stage and the orchestra pit. The Lasciviou s Count Ory will be appearing in the Czech Republic for the first time.
Keep your daughters and sisters inside and lock up your wives, because the young Count Ory has once more escaped the supervision of his father and has embarked on amorous adventures! This time he has his eye on the lovely Adèle, who as she does every year is spending the summer in the Formoutiers guesthouse in with her women friends. They are there alone because their menfolk have gone to a rugby match and they have promised them that while they are away they will not allow any men into Formoutiers. This can’t stop Ory hand he decides to get to Adèle by deceit. Disguised as a preacher and accompanied by his friend Raimboud he arrives in the village, where he mainly advises the local inhabitants on how to be happy with their partners.
On Ory’s trail however is his tutor, who willingly helps young Isolier, Ory’s companion. He is also in love with Adèle, but this is no summer flirtation. He knows that Adèle is planning to visit the preacher in the village and decides to convince him to advise her to marry the one she loves. He does not realise that it is Ory in disguise, but Ory recognises his companion and he takes a great interest in Isolier’s idea of getting into the closed-off guesthouse disguised as a nun. In the meantime Adèle appears and Ory really does encourage her to not be afraid to fall in love, on the side however he warns her against Isolier as a helper of the perfidious Ory. The tutor then appears at just the right moment and he uncovers Ory’s disguise. In rushes Adèle’s friend Ragonde bringing a letter from their husbands and brothers. They have won and all are happily on the way back. There is nothing left for Ory and his companions but to leave the field for the moment, but they have definitely not given up on their plans.
A calm evening in the guesthouse, which the ladies are spending happily reading and playing board games, is interrupted by a sudden storm. Amidst the gusts of wind and flashes of lightning voices are heard from outside asking for shelter in Formoutiers. It is a group of nuns, and one of them Sister Colette, tells Adèle that they are fleeing from the lust of the young Count Ory. The ladies quickly prepare food and lodging for the venerable sisters on their travels. They are not however overjoyed at the offer of fruit and cheeses, which is not surprising since it is Ory and his friends disguised in the habits of nuns. After the horrific vision of an evening with nothing stronger than milk Raimbaud sets out to explore the remainder of the guesthouse and discovers unexpected booty in the form of abundant supplies of wine. It does not take long for the whole company to be merry from the wine and be having fun in the hotel lobby. Only with a great effort do they maintain their disguise when Ragonde and Adèle appear in the lobby. In the end they all head off to bed.
The peace of the night is disturbed by another visitor – it is Isolier, who brings news that the gentlemen will be arriving this night after winning their game, and also that the group of nuns is actually Ory and his companions in disguise. One of the nuns, Sister Colette-Ory, returns to the lobby and once more wants to thank Adèle for her hospitality. However he behaves very intimately and begins to confess his love. In the darkened lobby however Adèle has swapped places with Isolier and so Ory is speaking to the young Isolier. The unsuccessful declaration of love is interrupted by the voices of the returning husbands. There is nothing left for Ory but to flee in shame via a secret passage with the remainder of his company. Everyone rejoices at being reunited with their loved ones. And Adèle? She only has eyes for Isolier...