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Arts on Air: "Rita" - RTHK TV Programme



Arts on Air:

Arts on Air: "Rita"

RTHK TV Programme


[If you missed the broadcast on 30 and 31 January, you can find the video of the show at the following link]


Opera Footage provided by: Italian Cultutal Institute

A project by: Stefano Fossati (Italian Cultural Institute Director) & Peter Gordon

Music: Gaetano Donizetti

Libretto: Gustave Vaëz


Date (option 1): Sat, 30 Jan 2021 / 11:00pm (HK time)

Date (option 2): Sun, 31 Jan 2021 / 1:00pm (HK time)

TV channel: RTHK TV31

Presented by: Italian Cultural Institute

With the assistance of: Haw Par Music

Broadcast by: Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK)


The comic opera "Rita", one of Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti's last, is a fusion of the Italian opera buffa and French opéra comique traditions. Never before produced in Hong Kong or China, we are pleased to bring this small gem to Hong Kong audiences for the first time through a partnership with Haw Par Music and RTHK. This bubbly, accessible "opera film" production, featuring three of Hong Kong's best up-and-coming opera singers, has been reset in "old Hong Kong" in the iconic premises of the Haw Par Mansion.

Rita owns a small hotel and restaurant; she also happens to have two husbands. She thinks the first husband died in an shipwreck, but he had decamped to Canada. During their relationship, he had bullied her, something which — with her new freedom — she now takes out on her timid second husband. As far as he knows, Husband #1 believes Rita to be dead too. He’s coming back to get her death certificate so he can marry again. Husband #2 witnesses the re-appearance of his predecessor, clearly very much alive, and sees it as a chance to escape his marriage to the tyrannical Rita. The two men agree to play for her: the winner will keep Rita as his wife forever. It goes without saying that both try hard to lose!

"Rita" dates from between 1839 and 1841 at a time when composer Gaetano Donizetti was in Paris. According to his librettist Gustave Vaëz, Donizetti completed the score in just eight days. The opera was however never performed during the composer’s lifetime; planned performances at the Opéra-Comique and (in Italian translation) at Naples’s Teatro del Fondo fell through. The still-unperformed score, found in Donizetti’s papers when he died in 1848, was finally premiered in May 1860 at the Opéra-Comique. Rita remained relatively obscure, but has been rediscovered and is increasingly performed, with several new productions in 2020 alone, including this one.

The one-act opera consists of eight musical numbers with interconnecting dialogue. Unusually for Donizetti and, indeed, most Italian opera of the period, the opera includes only three singers and no chorus, making it ideal for an intimate chamber production. In opera, the singers are usually the stars, but please take of note the unequalled surroundings of the Haw Par Mansion and also listen to the music, for the ensemble is playing the world premiere of a new arrangement by music director Marco Iannelli.



Date: From Saturday, January 30, 2021 to Sunday, January 31, 2021

Organized by : Presented by: Italian Cultural Institute

In collaboration with : With the assistance of: Haw Par Music / Broadcast by: Radio Television Hong Kong

Entrance : Free


TV channel - RTHK TV31