By Carolina Lippo, Fabio Perillo, Giovanni Di Stefano, Irene Molinari, Orchestra del Giovanni Paisiello Festival, and Pasquale Arcamone. By Giovanni Paisiello. Classical. CD. Bongiovanni #GB2486/87-2. Published by Bongiovanni (NX.GB2486-87-2).
Semiramide in villa was Giovanni Paisiello's first attempt at the comic genre known in Italian as metamelodramma, which made fun of the extravagances of singers, composers and impresarios and of the absurdities of the system behind the staging of Italian operas. From the outset, comic opera had made audiences laugh by parodying its serious counterpart, particularly the librettos of Metastasio, featuring ""half-character"" roles, so called because they cover several styles, or trivial ones. Thus opera buffa always contained segments, albeit varying in length and extent of parody, deriving from its serious counterpart and the metamelodrama would take this connection between the genres even further with a whole act consisting of a rehearsal for an opera seria. The sole source for the music of ""Semiramide in villa"" is the composer's own autograph score housed in the library of the San Pietro a Majella College of Music in Naples in two separate volumes: the frontespiece of the first carries the indication ""Originale di Giovanni Paisiello 1771 Roma"" in an 18th century hand.