Lo Spedale


Composer: Unknown, possibly Roman, mid-17th C.

Libretto: Antonio Abati (c. 1595 - 1667)

Four patients wait for a doctor that seems to have forgotten them. The parallels with our own time are surprising, but such is the poet Antonio Abati's satire of healthcare, medicine and hypochondria, which has lost none of its wit and pertinence in the 350 years since it was written.

Rediscovered by Dr Naomi Matsumoto (Goldsmiths University) and first performed by Solomon's Knot in 2015, ours is its second-ever staging in modern times, and the first in a faithful 17th century production.

Although the composer is at present unknown, the libretto for Lo Spedale was most likely written by Abati during his time at the Imperial court in Vienna in the 1640s. The music is as eccentric as the text, with moments of great beauty juxtaposed with comic choruses, and some incredibly complex rhythmic writing initially suggested it may have been the work of Giovanni Valentini, court composer and friend of Abati, much of whose work is now lost. However a new manuscript libretto was found at the Biblioteca Vittorio Emanuele, Rome, as part of our research into the work in October 2018, revealing part of a correspondence network of poets, musicians and artists of which Abati was a central figure, and widening the possibility of who might have composed the music considerably.

A new translation of the libretto by Oliver Doyle and Delia Fiordilino, was produced for this production and is currently available. Please email to request a copy.

Tickets to the 2018 performance at Sands Films Studios as part of the Illuminate Rotherhithe festival were free, making art accessible to all, and showcasing a wonderful, historic community asset in an area that is ever-changing. This was made possible by the generosity of Southwark Council, Illuminate Rotherhithe, and a host of generous individuals who have contributed and supported us.

Lo Spedale was revived at The Old Operating Theatre, London, in November 2019; if you would be interested in hosting a performance, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles, runtime 50 minutes.


November 2018 Premiere Cast:


The Doctor: Joachim Sabbat

The Four Patients:

Affliction of the Heart: Jessica Eucker

Affliction of the Mind: Tristram Cooke

Affliction of the Soul: Oliver Doyle

Affliction of the Wallet: Matthew O'Keeffe

Foreigner: Kirsty Anderson

Health: Delia Fiordilino


Theorbo: Peter Martin

Baroque Guitar: Richard MacKenzie

Viola da Gamba: Kate Conway


Set Designer: Imogen Aylwin

Photography: Annika Derksen