Domenico Cimarosa created his two-act opera buffa - Il credulo (The Gullible One) - for the Carnival season of 1786 at Teatro Nuovo in Naples, and wrote La baronessa Stramba to go with it as the third act of the evening. The libretto of La baronessa Stramba very clearly states, "the following farce is not by the same author as Il credulo..." and then fails to identify who this second poet might be. Since La baronessa Stramba is considered a revision of Cimarosa's opera of three years earlier, I matrimoni in ballo (The Weddings in Dance), and since the two operas share the exact same dramatis personae with the exception of the Baronessa Donna Gironda who becomes the Baronessa Stramba (stramba meaning odd, strange, peculiar in Italian), we can consider that Pasquale Mililotti is probably the author of the libretto.
The Baronessa Stramba is the eccentric and extravagant owner of a vast estate, a happy, spirited woman who is courted by Pulcinella who is both silly and well-off. To complicate matters, a country girl falls in love with Pulcinella while the Baronessa is the fiance of one Captain Don Celio Cocozzi.
The only record of a performance of La baronessa Stramba is that in Naples as part of the fourth opera of the 1786 season.Whether or not La baronessa Stramba is technically derived from Cimarosa's earlier Il matrimoni in ballo, the sinfonia (overture) is unique and does not share any of its thematic material) with any other work including I matrimoni in ballo.
This edition is based on the composer's holograph score which is today preserved in the library of the Conservatorio di musica 'S Pietro a Majella', Naples, under the shelfmark Rari 1-2-12. As is the case with all Cimarosa's autograph material the overture to La baronessa Stramba shows signs of having been composed at breakneck speed. Every conceivable notational shortcut is taken and his placement of articulation and dynamic markings is erratic. It is necessary, therefore, to frequently interpret the composer's intentions and even at times to impose an editorial solution where his own thoughts are not clear. Cimarosa's horn notation is often problematic and in this instance the editor has decided to adopt the conventional 18th-century practice of writing the horn parts in C, in the treble clef. In making sense of Cimarosa's score the style and notation of articulation and dynamic markings have been largely standardised throughout, and, where missing, markings have been reconstructed from parallel passages. These are indicated by the use of dotted slurs or brackets where appropriate. Obvious wrong notes have been corrected without comment; editorial emendations with no authority from the source are placed within brackets.