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)

89. A Life for the Tsar (Mikhail Glinka)

Жизнь за царя By Mikhail Glinka First composed: Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, St Petersburg, 9 December 1836 This will probably be my last post for a while.  It's increasingly feeling like a chore - three hours of watching and listening to opera, which I could spend reading or watching other things. A Life for the Tsar is … Continue reading 89. A Life for the Tsar (Mikhail Glinka)

88. Le tribut de Zamora (Charles Gounod)

Opéra in 4 acts. Composer: Charles Gounod Libretto : Adolphe d’Ennery & Jules Brésil. First performance : Théâtre de l’Opéra (Palais Garnier), 1 April 1881.  Remounted at the Opéra: 13 March 1885 (48th performance) – 50th & final performance 25 March 1885. It's been nearly a month since I last posted, my mate Phil tells me. Today, … Continue reading 88. Le tribut de Zamora (Charles Gounod)

87. Hippolyte et Aricie (Jean-Philippe Rameau)

HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE Tragédie lyrique in 5 actes and a prologue Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau Librettist: Abbé Pellegrin First performed: Académie Royale de Musique at its theatre in the Palais-Royal, Paris, 1 October 1733 Dossier Halte-là!  Are you a Ramiste or a Lulliste?  And shall we fight a duel? Those were serious questions in early 18th century … Continue reading 87. Hippolyte et Aricie (Jean-Philippe Rameau)

86. Raymond and Agnes (Edward Loder)

RAYMOND AND AGNES Grand opera in three acts Composer: Edward Loder Libretto: Edward Fitzball First performed: Theatre Royal, Manchester, 14 August 1855 Dossier So there is opera in England between Handel and G&S! Retrospect Opera, devoted to British opera, released last month the premiere recording of Loder's Raymond and Agnes (1855), one of the most important mid-19th century … Continue reading 86. Raymond and Agnes (Edward Loder)

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 … Continue reading 84. The prolific Pacini in Pompei