Rita Paola Quagliata (soprano) - Beppe Carlo Giacchetta (tenor) Gasparo Carlo Torriani (baritone) - Conductor Francesco Ledda - Director Giovanna Nocetti - Set designer La bottega fantastica ( Catania) - Orchestra of Teatro Bellini Adrano - Costume designer Giovanni Balduini by I Divi (Carrara) - Light designer Salvatore Noé - Audio recording by Matteo Pace - Video recording and post-production by Leo Sorrentino (Acireale) - Video director Leo Sorrentino (Acireale)
Rita tells the story of a wife and her two husbands. Rita was married to Gasparo, but as he was on a ship that sank she assumed he was dead and got remarried to Beppe. Meanwhile, Gasparo believes Rita to be dead because the village in which she lived burned down. However, it transpires that both of them managed to survive, as they discover one day when Gasparo walks into the inn run by Beppe and Rita. The theme of the opera is 'treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen': Gasparo used to beat Rita to tame her, and now Rita does the same to the rather timorous Beppe. So when Gasparo comes along, he teaches Beppe how to beat Rita in return.
The opera's eight numbers are all fascinating, but one is particularly unusual. Gasparo and Beppe sing a buffo duet in which they decide who is going to live with Rita - 'The loser is the winner: the winner takes the beating'. They draw lots and test each other in several ways, a complicated situation which Donizetti solves by setting the scene in a loose form of seven movements, each with a different speed, mood and time signature. Also of interest is the trio 'È moncherin', which similarly mirrors shifting moods with shifting speeds. However, there are no concerted numbers (concertati) in the work because there is no chorus.