La Finta Giardiniera,

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)


Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria on January 27, 1756.

He was 19 years old when he set the libretto for La finta giardiniera (or “the false gardener”) to music in 1775.

The period of Mozart as child prodigy is over. After a number of trips, he returned with his father to Salzburg in March 1773. Although he nevertheless went to Vienna, Munich, Mannheim and Paris, it can be said that the years 1770-1780 were dominated by a intense activity in Salzburg.

However, it was in Munich that he spent three months, between December 1774 and March 1775, to finish the composition of La finta giardiniera and give its first performance.

The commission for the work came from the Bavarian elector, Maximilian III, who wanted the opera to be performed for the 1775 carnival at the Munich court. It was therefore at the Salvator Theater in Munich on January 13, 1775 that the opera would be performed for the first time.


The influence of the Italian style was dominant at that time. It was very visible in Mozart’s works until the 1770s, both in his plays for the theater – as in Il Re pastore written in the same period – and in his church music. This is characterized by very expressive tunes that are strongly embellished.


Following a violent argument with her lover Count Belfiore, the Marchioness Violante Onesti is left for dead. But she managed to recover from her injuries. Under the false name of Sandrina, she begins a new life by establishing herself as a gardener in the service of the podestat * Don Anchise. She sets off in search of her fiancé accompanied by Roberto her servant, who also presents himself under a false name, that of Nardo.

Don Achise has a servant, Serpetta, whom he is very much in love with, but he does fall in love with Sandrina, the fake gardener.

Don Achise also has a niece, Arminda, very proud, whom he hopes to marry to Count Belfiore who, precisely, invites himself to Don Achise. Nardo falls in love with Serpetta but not her.

Ramiro falls in love with Arminda but is ousted by Belfiore.

Unexpectedly, the two former spouses, Belfiore and Sandrina / Violante, will then recognize each other and take revenge in their own way. Jealousy and cruelty change sides: it is the young woman’s mistreated turn to make the former violent lover suffer.

The result is a series of trials that immerse the two characters in temporary madness that will allow them to be reconciled, forever rid of their bad feelings.

All’s well That ends well. The story ends with three marriages: Belfiore and Violante / Sandrina, Ramiro and Arminda, Roberto / Nardo and Serpetta!


For its 9th edition, and in honour of Les Arts Florissants’ 40th anniversary, the Academy has chosen to celebrate youth with an opera performed by its latest young talents, La finta giardiniera. With playful marivaudage, this tale of deceit, love triangles and theatrics explores the adventures of a noblewoman disguised as a gardener, whose elaborate gamble in the name of love sets off a surprising turns of events.

Musical direction: Paul Agnew

Semi staging: Sophie Daneman

Soloists of the Jardin des Voix
Sandrina – Mariasole Mainini, soprano
Serpetta – Lauren Lodge Campbell, Soprano
Arminda – Deborah Cachet, soprano
Ramiro – Théo Imart, counter-tenor
Il contino Belfiore – Moritz Kallenberg, tenor
Il Podestà – Rory Carver, tenor
Nardo – Sreten Manojlovic, bass

Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants