[Facebook] [Twitter]

Home Page

Musica Antica Rotherhithe

Early Music in the heart of SE16
Lo Spedale

Lo Spedale

A Baroque Italian Comic Opera


Composer: unknown, mid 17th C.

Libretto: Antonio Abati (c. 1595 - 1667)


Four patients wait for a doctor that seems to have forgotten them. The parallels with our own time are surprising. Such is the poet Antonio Abati's satire of healthcare, medicine and hypochondria, which has lost none of its wit and charm in the 350 years since it was written.

Rediscovered by Dr Naomi Matsumoto (Goldsmiths University) and first performed by Solomon's Knot in 2015, ours is its second-ever staging in modern times, and the first in a faithful 17th century production.

Although the composer is at present unknown, the libretto for Lo Spedale was most likely written by Abati during his time at the Imperial court in Vienna in the 1640s. The music is as eccentric as the text, with moments of great beauty juxtaposed with comic choruses, and some incredibly complex rhythmic writing that suggests it may have been the work of Giovanni Valentini, court composer and friend of Abati, much of whose work is now lost. Work on identifying the composer for certain has taken place alongside preparing the performance, and a programme essay on the work, along with a modern notation score for publication is in progress.

Additionally, a new translation of the libretto by Oliver Doyle and Delia Fiordilino, was produced for this production and is currently available. Please email mvsicaantica@gmail.com to request a copy.

The work is sung in Italian with English surtitles, and lasts approximately 1 hour.

Tickets to the November 24th performance at Sands Films Studios as part of the Illuminate Rotherhithe festival were free, making art accessible to all, and showcasing a wonderful, historic community asset in an area that is ever-changing. This was made possible by the generosity of Southwark Council, Illuminate Rotherhithe, and a host of generous individuals who have contributed and supported us.

Musica Antica Rotherhithe hope to tour the production to other venues in 2019. Please contact us for more information or to hire the performance.


Cast from the premiere on November 24, 2018:

The Doctor: Joachim Sabbat

The Four Patients:

Affliction of the Heart: Jessica Eucker

Affliction of the Mind: Tristram Cooke

Affliction of the Soul: Oliver Doyle

Affliction of the Wallet: Matthew O'Keeffe

Foreigner: Kirsty Anderson

Health: Delia Fiordilino

Theorbo: Peter Martin

Baroque Guitar: Richard MacKenzie

Viola da Gamba: Kate Conway

Set Designer: Imogen Aylwin

Join Our Mailing List