Time for a cultural outing, so we're off to the opera again ! This time, it's the tragi-comic Silvio, with a well-loved cast of characters. You remember the plot ...
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Fabulously rich Silvio is sulking in the Palazzo Fribi when he hears a commotion. It is Toni and Cheri, two perennial seekers after wealth, who have come to Fribi once again in the hope that he will have a little something for them. Standing under his window, they sing the plaintive duet Deh vieni, non tardar (get yourself down here, don’t hang about !)
Silvio throws open the window, his face as black as thunder, and he calls down angrily: Follie! Follie! Sempre libera (You’re both mad ! Always after a freebie !). Cheri is non-plussed: you know we’ve always liked a bung, she says.
You lika bunga ? replies Silvio, and his demeanour changes at once. He invites them in, and sings a wistful aria: Caro nome che il mio cor (you’ve named something dear to my heart).
Once inside, Silvio plies them with wine, and once again listens to Toni’s well-rehearsed apology for his wife’s grasping nature: she was brought up a humble scouser, and consequently is rather keen on personal advancement – Toni sings La donna é mobile (she’s a terrible social climber).
Seeing Cheri getting increasingly tipsy, Silvio is emboldened and, turning to the audience, delivers the sly refrain: Dio! mi potevi scagliar! (Egad, I can have this scally!) When Toni steps outside to take a phonecall, the crafty Silvio leads her to a bedroom, and invites her to slip into something more comfortable, singing Eccomi in lieta vesta (come, put on this light chemise).
Toni returns to the salon and finds Cheri and Silvio gone. Guessing what has happened, he cries out: Io l'ho perduta! (yo ! the slapper has lost it this time!) - and rushes off in search of them.
To be continued ...