Gaetano Donizetti's life
Gaetano Donizetti is one of the most important opera composer of the first Nineteenth Century and a foreseer of Verdi's musical drama. His romantic style and composing skills have been praised everywhere in Europe. He was born in Bergamo in 1797 in a poor family. He is accepted in Scuola Caritatevole di Musica in Bergamo very young, signing his theatrical debut with Enrico di Borgogna in Venice, for which he receives appreciation from both the public and critics. He moves to Naples and becomes popular with Anna Bolena and Elisir d'amore. He is addressed director of Teatri Reali di Napoli and becomes professor of composition at Conservatorio. When Bellini dies, he dedicates him a Requiem. In 1835 he is struck by a series of losses and while grieving he dismisses all his engagements in Italy. He moves to Paris where he writes Les Martyrs, La Favorita and Rita ou le Mari Battu. His health is in jeopardy due to syphilis and when he gets worse, he is internalised in the mental hospital Ivry-sur-Seine. He is then moved to Bergamo where he dies, in 1848.
Il Pigmalione(1816), Enrico di Borgogna(1818), Una follia(1818), Le nozze in villa (1821), Il falegname di Livonia, ossia Pietro il grande (1819), Zoraida di Granata(1822), La zingara(1822), La lettera anonima(1822), Chiara e Serafina, ossia I pirati(1822), Alfredo il Grande (1823), Il fortunato inganno(1823), Zoraida di Granata(1824), L'ajo nell'imbarazzo(1824), Emilia di Liverpool(1824), Alahor in Granata (1826), Don Gregorio(1826), Elvida (1826), Gabriella di Vergy (1869), Olivo e Pasquale (1827), Otto mesi in due ore(1827), Il borgomastro di Saardam(1827), Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (1827), L'esule di Roma, ossia Il proscritto (1828), Emilia di Liverpool(1828), Alina,regina di Golconda(1828), Gianni di Calais(1828), Il paria (1829), Il giovedì grasso(1829), Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth (1829), I pazzi per progetto (1830), Il diluvio universale (1830), Imelda de' Lambertazzi (1830), Anna Bolena (1830), Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (1831), Gianni di Parigi (1839), Francesca di Foix(1831), La romanziera e l'uomo nero (1831), Fausta (1832), Ugo, Conte di Parigi (1832), L'elisir d'amore (1832), Sancia di Castiglia (1832), Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo(1833), Otto mesi in due ore(1833), Parisina d'Este (1833), Torquato Tasso(1833), Lucrezia Borgia(1833), Il diluvio universale(1834), Rosmonda d'Inghilterra(1834), Maria Stuarda(1834), Gemma di Vergy(1834), Maria Stuarda(1835), Marin Faliero(1835), Lucia di Lammermoor(1835), Belisario(1836), Il campanello (1836), Betly,o La capanna svizzera(1836), L'assedio di Calais (1836), Pia de' Tolomei(1837), Roberto Devereux(1837), Maria de Rudenz(1838), Gabriella di Vergy(1838), Pia de' Tolomei(1838), Lucie de Lammermoor(1839), Le duc d'Albe (1839), Lucrezia Borgia(1840), Poliuto(1840), La Fille du régiment (1840), L'ange de Nisida(1839), Lucrezia Borgia(1840), La Favorite(1840), Adelia(1841), Rita, ou Le mari battu(1841), Maria Padilla(1841), Linda di Chamounix(1842), Caterina Cornaro(1844), Don Pasquale(1843), Maria di Rohan(1843),Dom Sébastien(1843).
Donizetti's Maria Stuarda
Mary Stuart is the turning point of the so called Tudor Trilogy by Gaetano Donizetti, along with Anna Bolena and Roberto Devereux. The story of the Renaissance English dynasty is “filtered” by Schiller’s romantic eye (whose tragedy was the inspirational work for the libretto). With these operas, Donizetti reaches some of his most successful musical peaks. Mary Stuart has unforgettable lyric pages, such as the protagonist’s arias and the moving final prayer . There’s a key moment, a melodramatic “must” which stays in the memory: the quarrel of the two Queens (Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I never really met in real life), with Mary’s accusation to Elizabeth. Mary Stuart is definitely a bright testimony of Donizetti’s refined musical and theatrical talent.
Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore
L'Elisir d'amore represents one of the best works in Donizetti's production and it turns opera buffa, with its stereotypic characters and situations, into a less peculiar genre. Felice Romani, while writing the libretto (which was taken from Le philtre by Daniel Auber on Eugène Scribe's verses) put an emphasis on the humanity of the characters more than on the French wit and coquetry. The parodistic atmosphere of the opera buffa, so clear in characters such as Belcore and Dulcamara, tends to turn into a more sentimental and realistic piece, inheriting the characteristics of the pièces larmoyantes of the end of the Eighteenth Century. It also got closer to typical Rossini's theatre, in the way emotions are outlined. That is why the end of the story, Adina and Nemorino's love triumph, doesn't rely on a scam or a lucky strike as it would happen in the “old” opera buffa, but it's more due to a “human” event: Adina recognizing Nemorino's honesty and constance in his love for her. For these characteristics, L'elisir d'amore becomes a model for the following developments of a new comical genre, provided by Donizetti, where a more human character, with deeper emotional depths, stands out: Nemorino is the one who was first addressed as the town fool, but becomes aware of himself due to the feeling he has for Adina.
Donizetti's Il Campanello
Gaetano Donizetti wrote both the libretto and the music of the one-act farce Il campanello for the Teatro Nuovo in Napoles in 1836. He wrote it in a short period of time, no more than ten days: in fact, it is composed mainly by five musical pieces, spaced out by prose parts (to Don Annibale goes the spoken part in dialect). The following year Donizetti revised it and changed part of the dialogues in recitative actions and turned dialect in Italian, padding out the music too. In such a short act, there's enough comical verve, in an opera which shines for its musical originality. This is the most brilliant Donizetti, the one we all know for the absolute masterpieces of Elisir d'amore and Don Pasquale.
Donizetti's Roberto Devereux
Roberto Devereux, or The Count of Essex, is a tragedy opera in three acts, written by Gaetano Donizetti in 1837 on Salvatore Cammarano´s libretto. It was inspired by Le comte d´Essex (Paris 1678) by Thomas Corneille and it is in turns based on a previous libretto written by Felice Romani for Saverio Mercadante. The musical sheet written by hand and signed by the composer is kept in the San Pietro a Maiella Conservatory in Naples. It premiered in Naples at Teatro San Carlo, on the 29th October 1837 and its success confirmed Donizetti´s inclination for topics set in noble courts. In fact, the opera is the third chapter of the so called "Tudor Queens cycle", opened in 1830 with Anne Bolen and followed in 1835 with Mary Stuart. Donizetti´s style used to elevate when facing stories of impossible love affairs among people from the court and dealing with female characters as dramatically strong as the Tudor Queens.