Pergolesi was one of the most important early composers of opera buffa (comic opera). His opera seria, Il prigionier superbo, contained the two act buffa intermezzo, La Serva Padrona (The Servant Mistress, 28 August 1733), which became a very popular work in its own right. When it was performed in Paris in 1752, it prompted the so-called Querelle des Bouffons ("quarrel of the comic actors") between supporters of serious French opera by the likes of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau and supporters of new Italian comic opera. Pergolesi was held up as a model of the Italian style during this quarrel, which divided Paris's musical community for two years.
If you love me, if you sigh
Only for me, dear shepherd,
I am sorrowful for your sufferings;
yet I delight in your love.
But if you think that
I must in return love only you,
Little shepherd, you are subject
To deceiving yourself easily.
The beautiful purple rose
Will Silvia choose today;
With the excuse of its thorns,
Tomorrow, then, will she despise it.
But the advice of the men
I will not follow -
Just because the lily pleases me,
I do not have to despise the other flowers.