Salvatore Baccaloni was probably opera's greatest comedian (well, intentional comedian, at least:-) His art—which was considerable—is not easily produced without a film, because he was essentially a visual phenomenon. He was extremely fat, very energetic, and a notorious scene-stealer. He was a Jackie Gleason kind of character actor, with quite a big booming voice. Unlike some bassos, he could actually sing, and reasonably well, even if his musical sense was sometimes challenged. Most especially, he had what might be called a "live and let live" relationship with tempos. As long as he and the conductor finished in approximately the same place, he considered the aria a musical success. But nobody particularly cared, except, I'm sure, the conductor. The audience just wanted to laugh, and Baccaloni gave them ample opportunity to do so. Il Matrimonio Segreto is a kind of theatrical comedy that is essentially Commedia dell'arte, and its theme is eternal. The characters originated in the puppet shows that were popular in Europe for nearly 400 years, and in one form or another almost certainly go back to the street comedy of ancient times, probably in Greece: The foolish old man in love (Pantalone), The young, usually impecunious lover (Pierrot), The conniving notary Scapino) and of course Columbina, the clever and scheming ingénue, always managing to escape the clutches of the old man she is being forced to marry, when she really, and naturally, loves a boy of her own age. Many comic plots approximately conform to this plot outline. The presentations can vary from comedy (the norm) to bittersweet heartbreak (not infrequent) to horrific tragedy (rare...I Pagliacci being a notable example). Baccaloni here is in classic Pantalone mode.