At the end of his life, feverish and weakened by his illness, Gaetano Donizetti contemplated finally completing his opera Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali, giving it a final version. But he’d run out of time. When Donizetti died in April 1848, the farce, which he'd begun 21 years earlier, lay in fragments. Swiss stage director Mélanie Huber sets Donizetti’s stormy and entertaining capers around the madness of everyday theater life. Freely adapted in the 20th century, and bearing the title Viva la mamma, the piece has found its way back to the stage, featuring singers from the International Opera Studio. Huber’s version features both a newly written version of the text and a new storyline by Stephan Teuwissen, with whom she’s previously successfully collaborated with on Bartleby, der Schreiber after Melville at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. In this version, the composer himself appears, stressed by fever and madness. Slightly overexcited, but also poetic and spurred on by his dreams, Gaetano gets an assistant devil to grant him one final wish: A performance of his opera pastiche, Sitten und Unsitten des Theaters. The devil gets roped in, and before he knows it, he’s playing the lead role – Mamma Agata, an eccentric stage mother, as unteachable as she is unstoppable. Opposite her are a smug prima donna with a pushy husband, second- and third-rate singers, a German tenor, and three gentlemen from theater management, desperately trying to keep the threads of fate – and opera – in their hands. Not unexpectedly, rehearsals get completely out of hand, and poor Gaetano has to watch as his opus magnum turns into an opus malum.