Music: La Piccolo Scala

In the 18th century days of Mozart and Haydn, Europe was dotted with small opera houses that regularly gave light musical dramas or comedies of manners. Most of the houses were supported by the local duke or prince; most of the listeners were his personal guests. Their powdered periwigs bobbed together to the familiar rhythms on stage and they tittered behind lace kerchiefs at the coquettish young chambermaids, amorous old goats and desperately conspiratorial lovers. But these small houses in time were replaced by the giant "imperial" or "state" opera houses that are still standing, and the little drawing-room operas were...

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