53. Il giuramento (Saverio Mercadante)

Melodramma in 3 acts Composer: Saverio Mercadante Libretto: Gaetano Rossi, after Victor Hugo’s Angélo, tyran de Padoue First performed: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 11 March 1837 Dossier   For lovers of Italian opera, Mercadante is the great neglected composer.  His reform operas are the missing link between bel canto and Verdi, and, for half a decade, made him Italy's maestro-in-chief.  … Continue reading 53. Il giuramento (Saverio Mercadante)

51. Il turco in Italia (Gioachino Rossini)

Dramma buffo in 2 acts By Gioachino Rossini Libretto: Felice Romani, after Caterino Mazzolà’s libretto for Franz Joseph Seydelmann’s opera (1788) First performed: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 14 August 1814 Dossier Today, Il turco in Italia is one of the most commonly performed Rossini operas. - well below The Barber of Seville or La Cenerentola, perhaps, but respectably frequent. Its … Continue reading 51. Il turco in Italia (Gioachino Rossini)

45. I puritani (Vincenzo Bellini)

I PURITANI E I CAVALIERI Opera in 3 acts By Vincenzo Bellini Libretto: Carlo Pepoli, after Jacques-François Ancelot & Joseph Xavier Boniface (Saintine)’s Têtes rondes et Cavaliers (1833) First performed: Théâtre de la comédie italienne, Paris, 24 June 1835 Dossier "Carve into your head in adamantine letters," Bellini urged his librettist: "The opera must make people weep, shudder, die … Continue reading 45. I puritani (Vincenzo Bellini)

42. Isabeau (Pietro Mascagni)

Dramatic legend in 3 parts By Pietro Mascagni Libretto: Luigi Illica First performed: Teatro Coliseo, Buenos Aires, 2 June 1911, conducted by the composer Libretto, with English translation Mascagni is thought of as a one-hit wonder; Cavalleria rusticana ("Cav" for short) is one of the 50 most performed operas in the world, usually in a double bill with … Continue reading 42. Isabeau (Pietro Mascagni)

41. Belisario (Gaetano Donizetti)

Tragedia lirica in 3 acts By Gaetano Donizetti Libretto: Salvadore Cammarano, after  Luigi Marchionni’s adaptation of Eduard von Schenk’s play, Belisarius (1820) First performed: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 4 February 1836 Dossier HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Belisarius (c. 505-65 A.D.) commanded the Byzantine emperor Justinian (r. 527-65)'s armies.  Justinian's reign is remembered as a high point in Byzantine history, and the legal systems … Continue reading 41. Belisario (Gaetano Donizetti)

38. Cavalleria rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)

Opera lirica in 1 act By Pietro Mascagni Libretto: Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti & Guido Menasci, after Giovanni Verga's play & short story First performed: Teatro Costanzi, Rome, 17 May 1890 Dossier Synopsis Easter Day in a Sicilian village in the 19th century. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EGbMm5UqJs&w=640&h=385 The village folk are celebrating, but not everyone's happy.   Turiddu, a young soldier, … Continue reading 38. Cavalleria rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)

37. Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio (Giuseppe Verdi)

OBERTO, CONTE DI SAN BONIFACIO Opera in 2 acts By Giuseppe Verdi Libretto: Temistocle Solera & Antonio Piazza Verdi's first opera. First performed: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 17 November 1839 Dossier SYNOPSIS The backdrop of the opera is Italian feudal politics of the early 13th century, but that's largely irrelevant.  The plot concerns the usual … Continue reading 37. Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio (Giuseppe Verdi)