La Serva Padrona, composed on a libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico in 1733, is an intermezzo divided into two interludes. It was originally designed to be performed between the acts of the opera seria Il prigioniero superbo by Pergolesi himself, staged at the Teatro San Bartolomeo in Naples on the occasion of the birthday of the empress Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick, wife of the emperor Charles VI and mother of the empress Marie Therese of Augsburg. That very same libretto had been used by almost every composer in Naples and therefore was already popular in a number of successful versions. The definition of believable characters and the solid realism of the short story, revolving almost entirely around the characters’ psychology made of the libretto a success. Pergolesi’s genius turned it into a masterpiece.
Opera, until then the favourite entertainment of aristocracy and educated classes, was going to change radically as a consequence of the French revolution. In the three decades of the rise and fall of Napoleon, opera social function changed completely and irrevocably.
Opera is a drama created through music. It is the result of the joint effort of some of the best poets and composers in music history who worked together in perfect synergy to create a work as a whole.
Much applauded at the Royal Opera House in London in the role of Werther directed by Antonio Pappano and alongside Joyce DiDonato and in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Mr. Grigolo has recently appeared at the Met in New York, in Roméo et Juliette alongside Diana Damrau.