Shows N

he seems to love the pretty girls rather more than the rest. To the Duke's great delight, Caramello reveals to him his plan to take the place of the gondolier in the gondola calling for Barbara. Instead of taking her to Murano, he will then deliver her to the Duke's palace. Pulling on a gondolier's cloak and hood, he sets off on his adventure. The scene is set and the evening still, as the Duke looks up to Delacqua's balcony and sings a serenade. Inside the Delacqua house Barbara and Annina are making their final preparations, putting on the dominoes that will disguise them, as they await the sound of the gondolier's song that is to be the agreed signal. Down below Ciboletta brings Pappacoda a carnival costume. Finally the voice of Caramello is heard from the gondola singing the gondolier's song. Delacqua helps into the gondola the masked figure he believes to be his wife and he bids her farewell as the Duke looks on with keen anticipation. A group of sailors appear and, with Enrico at their head, they sing a serenade to Delacqua for his birthday the following day. While Delacqua is on the balcony thanking the singers, Barbara slips out below to join Enrico. The birthday serenade merges with the sound of Caramello's gondola song as night falls on Venice and the disguised Caramello glides away with his masked sweetheart Annina, neither knowing the true identity of the other. ACT 2 Watching from a room in his palace, the Duke is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the gondola in which Caramello is due to bring Barbara, as Agricola, Constantia and the other senators' wives arrive in their carnival costumes, ignoring their husbands' fears for their moral safety. Finally the gondola in seen approaching, and the Duke ushers his guests into the ballroom while he prepares to greet his special lady guest. When Caramello and Annina arrive and masks are removed, Caramello is dismayed to discover who it is he has brought for the Duke's pleasure, but Annina fancies making the most of the opportunity with the Duke that fate has given her. Caramello does his best to warn the Duke off Annina. 'Don't trust her. She scratches and bites!' he warns. Finally Annina and the Duke are left alone and the disguised Annina is shocked and thrown on the defensive when the Duke rhapsodises over the receptive response that his advances to Barbara had previously aroused. As the orchestra in the ballroom strikes up a waltz, the Duke takes the reluctant Annina into his arms. Caramello finds an excuse to interrupt the amorous scene and Annina persuades the Duke to take her into the ballroom. While they are away, Caramello opens the doors to the Duke's apartments and a crowd enters, including Pappacoda, prominent in a faded, shabby senator's costume with false, misshapen nose and spectacles and with his pockets stuffed with sausages, meat and pastries. Pappacoda has brought with him all his tradesmen friends, to whom he has distributed invitations given to him by Caramello. They are wide-eyed at the scale of the Duke's hospitality and, having introduced his friends to Caramello, Pappacoda invites them to help themselves. As the Duke seeks somewhere to be alone with Annina, a group of senators and their wives detain him. Among them are Senator Delacqua and his supposed wife, and the Duke is taken aback at being introduced to a second Barbara. However, Annina identifies this 'wife' for the Duke as the masked Ciboletta. The Duke goes along with Ciboletta's pretence, as he recalls the serenade he had sung to Barbara at previous carnival times. Delacqua pushes the supposed Barbara forward to put his own case for the position of the Duke's steward, but Ciboletta instead asks for a place for Pappacoda as the Duke's personal cook and the Duke is only too ready to oblige her. Delacqua departs to join Barbara in Murano, leaving the Duke to take supper with Annina and Ciboletta. Caramello has sent away the servants, and he and Pappacoda wait on the trio personally in order to keep their eyes open for any unwelcome developments. As the Duke courts the two ladies, Caramello and Pappacoda repeatedly interrupt. The cook gives a timely discourse on his culinary arts before the senators' wives arrive seeking the Duke's attention. By now midnight is approaching-the time when the Duke must go to lead the revels in Saint Mark's Square. When the bells of Saint Mark's sound out, Annina joins in the revelry and all go off in masks to enjoy themselves. ACT 3 In Saint Mark's Square, before the moonlit cathedral, the revellers are celebrating but Caramello stands