The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre
1 September, 2001
One of the most successful Italian operettas of its period, L’acqua cheta was adapted by Novelli from his successful 1908 play of the same title. The ‘still waters’ of that title refer to little Florentine Ida (Jole Pacifici) who, in comparison with her sister, Anita (Mimy Aylmer), is a picture of quiet modesty. However, still waters really do run deep in this case, and Ida has a lover called Alfredo with whom, in the course of the evening, she tries to elope. The elopement is discovered by the comical stable-lad, Stinchi (Enrico Dezan), and the carpenter, Cecco (Vannutelli), but, when all is sung and done, the marriage still takes place.
Written in a warmly rustic vein, L’acqua cheta was illustrated by a delightfully melodic and suitably Italianate score by Giuseppe Pietri (lyrics by Angelo Nessi), which ranged from the Mascagani-like tones of its prelude and the beautiful “Trio di ricamo” (Embroidery trio) to the blatantly catchy sound of the popular canzone. The lively, swinging ensemble “O com’e bello guidare i cavalli” for Stinchi and Cecco proved the most popular single number.
The operetta premiered at the Teatro Nazionale, Rome, 27 November 1920.