This site uses technical, analytics and third-party cookies.
By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies.

Preferences cookies

“Rita” – Comic opera in one act by Gaetano Donizetti – FREE EVENT

FREE registration:


Event performed in Italian with English and Chinese subtitles in a new musical arrangement by Marco Iannelli.

Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Gustave Vaëz
Music adaptation by Marco Iannelli
English dialogue by Peter Gordon


Director: Peter Gordon
Music Director: Marco Iannelli
Soprano: Etta Fung
Tenor: Chen Yong
Baritone: Isaac Droscha
Piano: Hsu Wei-en
Flute: Angus Lee
Clarinet: Calvin Leung
Violin: Patrick T.S. Yim
Viola: Sun Yu
Cello: Anna Kwan

Producer: Lorna Chan, Let Me Plan It Co.
Custom artwork: Adolfo Arranz


Rita” (Rita, ou Le mari battu, or The Beaten Husband) is a delicious farce in the best traditions of Italian opera buffa. It was written at the end of Gaetano Donizetti’s life when he was living in Paris. Donizetti’s music and Gustave Vaëz’s French libretto result in an Italian take on French opéra-comique with a story so familiar that it could be set anywhere — even Hong Kong.

Rita has a small restaurant and two husbands. She thinks the first husband dies in an accident, but he had in fact decamped to Canada. He hadn’t treated her very well, something which, with her new freedom, she now takes out on her timid second husband. Husband number one thinks that Rita is also dead. He’s come for her death certificate so he remarry. Husband number two sees the arrival of his predecessor, clearly still alive and still married, as a chance to escape his marriage to Rita. The two men agree to play a game, with the winner getting to keep Rita. Both try to lose…


Music Director:

Marco Iannelli is an award-winning Italian composer, musicologist and educator living in Hong Kong. He has worked with Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence), the Opera Berlioz (Montpellier), and Deutsche Oper (Berlin). His compositions have been played around the world: Milan, Rome, Paris, San Francisco, the Athens Olympics and Hong Kong. He was most recently music director for the Italian Cultural Institute’s October 2019 production of “Waitress on Top”, a Hong Kong retelling of Pergolesi’s “La Serva Padrona”.



Peter Gordon has been active in Hong Kong opera, drama and literary circles for two decades, including a previous Le French May outing in 2015. He wrote the dialogue and directed “Waitress on Top”, as well as two one-act operas, including Wolf-Ferrari’s “Il Segreto di Susanna”, at Macau’s Teatro Dom Pedro V. He has been named “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” for his work in local opera.


The cast includes:

Etta Fung is one of Hong Kong’s leading coloratura sopranos. Known for her acting as well as her singing, she recently created the roles of Serpina in the Italian Cultural Institute’s production of “Waitress on Top” and of Keiko in the world premiere of Elena Langer’s “Beauty and Sadness”. She has sung widely in both Europe and the United States.

Chen Yong has performed leading roles including Roméo in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”, Ernesto in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”, Alfredo in Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Bohème”. He has performed with Opera Hong Kong, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Hong Kong Arts Festival as with Les Chorégies d’Orange and Opera Shanghai.

Isaac Droscha frequently performs leading baritone roles in Hong Kong, most recently Uberto in “Waitress on Top”, Baron Zeta in “The Merry Widow” and Conte Almaviva in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”. He frequently performs in recital and teaches at HKUST.

Wei-En Hsu is an award-winning pianist on the faculty of the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts.


This event is part of ITALIA MIA Festival.


  • Organized by: Italian Cultural Institute
  • In collaboration with: ITALIA MIA Festival