The two lovers Giovanni and Annabella are not the children of rival families but brother and sister, whose incestuous affection stands in the way of their happiness. The dark web of intrigue surrounding them is rough and coarsely-meshed and as a result its deadly poison often misses its intended target. While Annabella’s spurned suitors butcher each other, she becomes pregnant with her brother’s child and is forced into marriage with one candidate in order to conceal their incestuous relationship. Overcome with manic passion, Giovanni kills his lover and shocks everyone who manages to survive this cruel game of lies and deceit.
In his play ‘‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore’ Shakespeare’s contemporary John Ford explored the full range of Jacobean horror which proves to be a treasure trove for this recent opera. For the composer Anno Schreier, born in Aachen in 1979, the play reflects some of the underlying patterns of opera, whose exaggerations, absurdities and profound emotion he unites in an expressive and exuberant work through musical imagery that is rich in allusions.