Donato Di Stefano and Patrizia Biccirè in Ferruccio Soleri's production of Pergolesi's La Serva Pedrona.
Premiered in 1733, Pergolesi's La Serva Pedrona is a Major event in the history of opera. Due to the lightheatedness of the plot and the ordinariness of the characters – not to say their coarseness – La Serva Pedrona launched what is known today as "the Quarrel of the Comic Actors" ("la Querelle des Bouffons" in French), a quarrel that brought into conflict the advocates of the French tradition against the proponents of the Italian music, the latter gathered behing the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If what they were fighting about seems trifling to the modern observer, the quarrel occasioned fierce reactions wavering between jingoistic arguements and unjustified critics of the French style. Be that as it may, La Serva Pedrona is a masterpiece, all the more so with the charmismatic Donato Di Stefano in the role of Uberto and the delightfull Patrizia Biccirè giving life to the mischievous Serpina.
Uberto, an elderly bachelor, is complaining about his servant's arrogance. Indeed, Serpina hasn't prepared his chocolate, she refuses to bring him his coat, wig and hat, she forbids him to leave the house. Thereupon, Uberto asks his valet Vespone to find him a woman to marry in order to get rid of the cheeky Serpina. But Serpina has more than one trick up her sleeves, and she decides to trick Uberto into marrying her. She pretends thus that she is about to getting married to a military man, Tempesta. Vespone comes in, desguised as Tempesta, and asks straight out for a 4,000-crown dowry. Tempesta threatens the old man to either pay or marry the girl himself. Realizing that he has always loved his servant, Uberto accepts to marry Serpina. Serpina will eventually be the true mistress of the household.