La Finta Giardiniera


Conducted by George Manahan
Directed by Chas Rader-Shieber


Combining heartbreak and comedy, this 1775 opera has all the depth and radiance we love in Mozart’s work.

Violante goes into hiding as “the disguised gardener” at the local Mayor’s country estate after escaping her abusive lover, Count Belfiore. As she chooses forgiveness and to love again, a dizzying cast of characters in disguise, enamored, and in chaos come together in a tale about the very complex nature of the human heart.

About our production:

Performed in Italian with English captions.
Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission. 

Lindsay Ohse returns to Portland Opera as the title character in Chas Rader-Shieber’s inspired new production for Portland Opera.

PREVIEW events

La Finta Giardiniera Preview: All Classical Portland’s Thursdays @ Three
Thursday, June 27 | 3 PM
Featuring cast members Helen Huang, Lindsay Ohse, Geoffrey Schellenberg, Camille Sherman, and Mark A. Thomsen.
Listen here.

La Finta Giardiniera: Simulcast
Wednesday, July 24 | 7:30 PM
Main Street, between SW Broadway & Park Ave
Free and open to the public

Join us for our annual simulcast performance featuring Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera! Audiences are invited to enjoy an evening of opera under summer skies and watch a live broadcast of Mozart’s comedy from 1775, which will be performed in the Newmark Theatre. Join us on SW Main Street between the Antoinette Hatfield and Arlene Schnitzer Concert Halls.  We’ll have captions, so you won’t miss a word or moment, and refreshments will be available for purchase.


Looking for dining options, directions, or more information? Create your opera experience with the assistance of our Portland Opera Concierge: | 503-241-1407

Join us one hour before curtain for a discussion providing context and unique insights into the world of the opera. After the performance join company members and guests from the production, for a post-show conversation.

Tickets start at $35. View a seating map of the Newmark Theatre.


The performance of La Finta Giardiniera on July 14, 2019 at 2 PM will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance is visually translated with English text projected above the stage. If you require wheelchair, ADA, or companion seating, please let our Patron Services team know when you purchase tickets, so that we can ensure your visit to the opera is an excellent one.

Photos by Cory Weaver.

Watch our trailer!


Don Anchises
Mark A. Thomsen

Lindsay Ohse

Count Belfiore
Thomas Cilluffo

Antonia Tamer

Camille Sherman

Helen Huang

Geoffrey Schellenberg

George Manahan

Chas Rader-Shieber

Set & Costume Designer
Michael Olich

Lighting Designer
Connie Yun

Plot & Program Notes

La Finta Giardiniera was Mozart’s 5th opera, written when he was only 18 years old. The piece includes one of opera’s many mad scenes, a convention dating back to the 17th century—the most famous of which may be in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.


Act 1: The action begins on the day that Arminda (the Mayor’s niece) and Count Belfiore are to meet in anticipation of their arranged wedding. Meanwhile, the Mayor has fallen in love with Sandrina (actually the disguised Violante, whose lover Belfiore stabbed her a year ago in a fit of jealousy and fled believing her dead). The Mayor’s maid Serpetta, who has designs on him herself, spurns the overtures of Nardo (Violante’s manservant Roberto, also in disguise as her assistant). Cavalier Ramiro (Arminda’s spurned lover) complains about her treatment of him but to no avail; and when Arminda and Belfiore meet, the arranged marriage seems certain. However, at this point, Belfiore encounters Sandrina. He takes her to be his late beloved Violante, but she is determined to punish him, and she denies the truth. Confusion reigns, and everyone – especially Arminda – is cross with or jealous of (or both) someone else.


Act II: Belfiore is distraught after seeing Sandrina, but Arminda has nothing but contempt for her “betrothed”. Ramiro unsuccessfully attempts to reconcile with the willful Arminda. Nardo continues to pursue Serpetta, but like the other ladies, she will have none of it. Ramiro arrives with a dispatch from Milan, charging the Mayor to arrest Belfiore for the murder of the Countess. The Mayor runs off to cancel the wedding plans. Sandrina and Belfiore quarrel after she denies her true identity, but when the Mayor arrives to confront Belfiore, Sandrina publicly declares herself to be the Countess, only to reverse her position when alone with Belfiore again. Enraged, Arminda plans her revenge, Sandrina runs off in dismay, and Belfiore begins to lose his mind. Nardo brings the confused Belfiore to search for Sandrina. The Mayor, Arminda, and Serpetta follow them, and they all wander about in the dark until Ramiro arrives with a lantern, whereupon the search party devolves into utter disarray while Sandrina and Belfiore take total leave of their senses.

Act III: Ramiro refuses to give up his pursuit of Arminda, while Nardo reaffirms his desire for Serpetta. Only Belfiore and Sandrina, recovering from their madness, are able to reconcile, unable to resist their mutual affection against their better judgement.  Bittersweet couplings and uncouplings are the order of the day, as everyone sings the praises of the “pretend” gardener, whose fidelity and strength prove the power of love.

Adapted from a synopsis by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.