90. Maria di Rudenz (Gaetano Donizetti)

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti Libretto: Salvadore Cammarano, after Anicet-Bourgeois, Cuvelier & Maillan’s La nonne sanglante; Matthew Lewis’ The Monk First performed: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 30 January 1838 Maria di Rudenz is, Charles Osborne says, "complex, overwrought, and grisly" - and, in the cold light of day, it certainly seems lurid. Fratricide; a soprano who dies three times  (she comes … Continue reading 90. Maria di Rudenz (Gaetano Donizetti)

85. Caritea, regina di Spagna (Saverio Mercadante)

Melodramma serio in 2 acts Composer: Saverio Mercadante Libretto: Paolo Pola First performed: Teatro la Fenice, Venice, 21 February 1826 CHARACTERS CARITEA (soprano): Ester Mombelli DON ALFONSO, King of Portugal (tenor): Domenico Donzelli DON DIEGO, under the name of Don Pirro of Aragon, son of Don Fernando (contralto): Isabella Fabbrica DON FERNANDO, old Spanish captain general (bass): Domenico Cosselli DON RODRIGO, … Continue reading 85. Caritea, regina di Spagna (Saverio Mercadante)

84. The prolific Pacini in Pompei

Giovanni Pacini may hold the record as the 19th century's most prolific opera composer.  His contemporaries reckoned he'd written a hundred works; closer attention whittled this down to a more manageable 74.Nearly all of them have been forgotten.“This abandonment,” Arthur Pougin (Le Ménestrel, 28 October 1866) wrote, “is the just punishment that awaits a man of talent … Continue reading 84. The prolific Pacini in Pompei

83. Pelagio (Saverio Mercadante)

PELAGIO Tragedia lirica in 4 acts Composer: Saverio Mercadante Libretto: Marco D’Arienzo First performed: Teatro San Carlo, Naples, 12 February 1857 CHARACTERS PELAGIO (baritone): Filippo Coletti ABDEL-AOR, governor of Gijón (tenor): Lodovico Graziani BIANCA, Pelagio’s daughter (soprano): Fortunata Tedesco GIRALDA, Bianca’s companion (contralto): Schiavi ASAN, captain of the Moors (bass): Marco Arati ALIATAR, guard on Abdel’s rooms (bass): Nicola Monti MENDO DE … Continue reading 83. Pelagio (Saverio Mercadante)

79. La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (Francesca Caccini)

LA LIBERAZIONE DI RUGGIERO DALL’ISOLA D’ALCINA Commedia in musica: Prologue and 4 scenes Composer: Francesca Caccini Libretto: Ferdinando Saracinelli, based on Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso First performed: Villa di Poggio Imperiale, Florence, 3 February 1625 Dossier COMMENTARY This morning, we talked about the first opera written by a non-white / non-European: Carlos Gomes' Il Guarany. Here's the first opera … Continue reading 79. La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (Francesca Caccini)

78. Il Guarany (Antônio Carlos Gomes)

IL GUARANY Opera-ballo in 4 acts Composer: Antônio Carlos Gomes Libretto: Antonio Scalvini First performed: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 19 March 1870 Dossier CHARACTERS Don ANTONIO DE MARIZ, old Portuguese hidalgo (bass): Teodoro Coloni CECILIA, his daughter (soprano): Marie Sass PERY, chief of the Guarany tribe (tenor): Giuseppe Villani Don ALVARO, Portuguese adventurer (tenor): Giuseppe Masato GONZALES, Spanish adventurer, Don Antonio's … Continue reading 78. Il Guarany (Antônio Carlos Gomes)

77. Vendetta in domino

We talked last time about Auber's Gustave III (1833), a dramatic retelling of the assassination of 18th century Swedish king Gustave III at a masked ball.Several Italian composers loved the story, and wanted to adapt it.Bellini called it "magnificent, spectacular, historical!"; had he lived, it would have been his next project after I puritani.  One Vincenzo Gabussi wrote Clemenza … Continue reading 77. Vendetta in domino