Warm sunlight flooded across a Neapolitan square. It was the real thing too: on the second night of Garsington Opera’s Il Turco in Italia, their new Wormsley auditorium’s transparent side walls let in natural light and warmth. By the same token, however, the temperature got distinctly chilly as darkness fell.

Not that the cast had many opportunities to feel the cold. Il Turco gave Rossini and his librettist Felice Romani the chance to cook up a high speed, juicy tale of lust and marital deceit, which is played out with never a dull moment in Martin Duncan’s production. After a surprisingly routine overture, which gives little idea of the chirpy, melodious score to come, we meet A Poet, who sits anxiously in his rickety garret hoping to find a subject for a comedy — no doubt this would bring in more money than writing poetry. In Mark Stone’s splendidly lip-smacking performance, it’s obvious A Poet has missed his vocation: he should surely have been the gossip columnist on a muck-raking tabloid.

His prayers are answered, with a vengeance. Literally crashing through the wall comes the imperious prow of Selim’s yacht. Selim is a Turkish prince, and he soon swaggers down the gangplank. But, as Quirijn de Lang makes plain in his well sung and acted performance, he is also a slimy, duplicitous creep. Not that this worries Fiorilla as she hip-wiggles her way towards him: she is bored stiff with her husband, a suited, sweating petty official of some kind (Geoffrey Dolton has a ball with this part). “The birds and the bees don’t settle for just one flower,” she sings. Not so pleased to see Selim are his former fiancée Zaida (Victoria Simmonds, in turn defiant and despairing), and dark horse Don Narciso (David Alegret), who also has his eye on Fiorilla.

The storyline is timeless, but director Duncan and his designer Francis O’Connor have set the production in the 1950s. This works well, as does the spirited chorus of all-male bystanders, and David Parry’s stylish conducting of both cast and responsive orchestra. But the star of the show is unquestionably Rebecca Nelsen, a last-minute substitute as Fiorilla, and here making her UK debut. Humorously provocative of body language, and stunning of voice, she is a real find. Full details of the Garsington Opera season, and ticket availability: www.garsingtonopera.org or by phone on 01865 361636.