2019 DONIZETTI OPERA: INTERPRETERS OF THE OPERAS, DETAILS ON THE CONCERTS, AND A NEW ORCHESTRA
In 2019 the Festival is growing, and including one more opera: Pietro il Grande, under the project #donizetti200; the first staged production of L’Ange de Nisida directed by Francesco Micheli; and the new critical edition of Lucrezia Borgia
Starring: Carmela Remigio, 2019 artist in residence; Alessandro Corbelli and Roberto Candia who make their debut at the Donizetti Opera; and returning tenor Xabier Anduaga, Operalia recent winner.
The Musial conductor Riccardo Frizza step on the podium for Lucrezia Borgia, Rinaldo Alessandrini for Pietro il Grande, Corrado Rovaris for Messa di Gloria and
Jean-Luc Tingaud for L’ange de Nisida
The Town of Bergamo being nominated “City of Gaetano Donizetti”
Teatro Donizetti and Teatro Sociale, from 12 November to 1 December 2019
The fifth edition of the Donizetti Opera Festival is now ready. The international festival is dedicated to the composer from Bergamo and has Francesco Micheli as its artistic director: the first novelty of the 2019 season is its longer program, thanks to the addition of a third opera to its program. This enriches the festival’s formula with its three operas and their alternating performances around the composer’s birthday (29 November), and a series of daily events (open rehearsals for youth Under30, a show for children, chamber music, sacred music, vocal recitals) offering an exciting program to an ever increasing national and international audience.
The rediscovering Donizetti project goes alongside the city’s development: the Town’s administration has in fact just recently nominated Bergamo “City of Gaetano Donizetti”, emphasizing this also through its new street signs. This atmosphere of collective involvement prepares the ground for the peaceful invasion of aficionados from all over the world, from 12 November to 1 December2019. All of this being supported by the ongoing research on Donizetti’s musical identity by thescientific dept of Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, run by Paolo Fabbri.
The 2019 Donizetti Opera will be opening with a Gala concert on 14 November at the Teatro Sociale: conducting the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai will be the Festival’s musical director Riccardo Frizza, who will be presenting a program focusing on music by the composer fromBergamo. Soloists are Carmela Remigio, 2019 artist in residence, and Alessandro Corbelli, who will be making his debut at the Donizetti Opera. They will be joined by other exceptional artists, also making their debut at the Festival: soprano Marta Torbidoni, tenor Konu Kim and baritone Florian Sempey.
On 29 November – Gaetano Donizetti’s birthday – the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore will be hosting his Messa di Gloria, a new element in the rediscovery of the composer’s sacred repertoire. The Messa will be conducted by Corrado Rovaris, leading the Donizetti Opera Orchestra.
To follow up on the #donizetti200 – every year one opera turning 200 years old, out of the ones from the Donizetti catalogue – the choice has fallen on the 1819 opera Pietro, il Grande kzar delle Russie (on 15 and 23 November, and on 1 December. Under30 preview on 12 November), with Maria Chiara Bertieri who revised the score based on the only two existing sources: the autograph score (stored at the Archivio Storico Ricordi) and a manuscript copy of the first act alone, not including the symphony (stored at the Museo Donizettiano in Bergamo). Rinaldo Alessandrini will be conducting the orchestra. The maestro is a specialist interpreter of the early repertoires and an expert of historically informed performances. He will be leading the new ensemble created by the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti named Gli Originali. The ensemble was promoted by Enrico Casazza and by Frizza and Micheli, whose aim was to have the operas of the early nineteenth century performed on original historical instruments. Gli Originali will also be performing the exciting concerts presented in Bergamo’s historic palaces. Ondadurto Teatro, created by the duo Marco Paciotti and Lorenzo Pasquali, will be staging the show. They will also build the machines and the sets for a show created around their traditional physical theatre. Costumes are by K.B. Project, and light design is by Marco Alba. Vocal interpreters are baritone Roberto De Candia playing Pietro – he is also making his debut at the Donizetti Opera, Loriana Castellano as Caterina, Paola Gardina playing Madama Fritz, Francisco Brito as Carlo Scavronski, and Marco Filippo Romano as Ser Cuccupis.
There are high expectations for the world premiere of the first staged version of the opera L’Ange deNisida (16 and 21 November). The score was believed to have been lost after the opera had missedits 1839 premiere, but it was actually found and reconstructed by Candida Mantica, a young researcher from Calabria who holds a doctorate degree from Southampton University, and who has worked for eight years on manuscript documents found at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, scattered over 18 boxes, where she was able to identify 470 manuscript pages belonging to Donizetti, also thanks to the copy of a draft of the libretto found in Bergamo. The philological reconstruction goes hand in hand with a physical reconstruction, because the recovered opera (which saw a concert performance in London last summer) will finally be staged in the Teatro Donizetti, now almost ready for reopening. The staging of the double “rebirths” – with Francesco Micheli as stage director, Angelo Sala as set designer, and Margherita Baldoni as costume designer –, is already internationally spoken of as an event not to be missed, for which dozens of opera fans and critics are showing great interest by requesting early bookings. For this important event the Donizetti OperaOrchestra will be conducted by Jean-Luc Tingaud, with Florian Sempey playing the role of DonFernand D’Aragon, Paul Gay that of Le Moine, Konu Kim playing Leone de Casaldi, and LidiaFridman interpreting the Comtesse Sylvia de Linarès.
The third opera of the Festival is one of Donizetti’s best loved works: Lucrezia Borgia (22, 24, and 30 November; Under30 preview on 20 November). The production is based on a new revision byRoger Parker and Rosie Ward, that goes back to the precious edition by Casa Ricordi (for thirtyyears the standard-bearer of the National Critical Edition of Donizetti’s operas, on collaborations with the Town of Bergamo and the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti). Riccardo Frizza will be conducting the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini (Carla Delfrate will be on the podium for the 30 Novemberperformance). Carmela Remigio will be playing the title role, while tenor Xabier Anduage will be playing Gennaro – they were both very successful interpreters of Il Castello di Kenilworth –; MarkoMimica will be Don Alfonso d’Este, and Varduhi Abrahamyan will be Maffio Orsini. The newproduction by the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, directed by Andrea Bernard, with sets and costumes respectively by Alberto Beltrame and Elena Beccaro, and light design by Marco Alba, is the result of an important collaboration with the Fondazione i Teatri di Reggio Emilia, the Fondazione Teatri di Piacenza, the Fondazione Ravenna Manifestazioni and the Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste, where the show will be travelling to right after its performances in Bergamo.
Two are the choruses involved in the various productions: the Coro Donizetti Opera directed by
Fabio Tartari will be singing at theOpening Gala, theMessa di Gloria,Pietro, il Grande, andAngede Nisida; while theCoro del Teatro Municipale di Piacenzadirected byCorrado Casatiwill besinging Lucrezia Borgia.
The Donizetti Educational section is increasing its productions, to highlight the role of Donizetti as Maestro of Emotions and to emphasize the multidisciplinary aspects of his operas. The 2018/2019 school year includes a number of educational activities connected to the titles presented at the Donizetti Opera Festival. The project offers a wide selection of different programs, adapting to the various ages and school levels, fostering an early approach to opera, as well as an efficient and exciting involvement.
Elementary and middle school classes may attend a new show, specifically designed for their age, called Pietro il Piccolo, based on the opera Pietro, il Grande, (27, 28, 29 November). Teachers may attend a training class held by stage directors and our educational office, where they will be presented the opera and the activities involving the students during the show: singing, dressing up, creating objects in class. The new version of the opera and all the educational programs connected to it have seen the collaboration of the educational office selected in 2018 from “Donizetti with a Z”. During the second part of the school year, kindergarten kids, elementary, and middle school children may discover Donizetti through an interactive tour of his birth home and of the Teatro Sociale, and through a laboratory experience involving one of the elements of opera (visual, verbal, and musical), as well as through an educational program held at the schools with multiple meetings.
High school students may attend the dress rehearsals of Pietro, il Grande (12 November) and Lucrezia Borgia (20 November). They will be introduced to the opera through an interactiveeducational program held in their classes by our assistants.
Pietro il Grande kzar delle Russie (Peter the Great, Tsar of the Russias)
Opera buffa in two acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti set to a libretto by Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini. Premiered in Venice, at the Teatro San Samuele, on 26 December 1819
Critical edition by Maria Chiara Bertieri/Fondazione Donizetti Donizetti Opera: Bergamo 15 and 23 November, 1 December 2019
Less than a year after his debut as opera composer, the then twenty-two-year-old Donizetti was commissioned an opera buffa by a Venetian theatre (the S. Samuele) to be presented at the 1820 carnival season. The author of the libretto was to be Marquis Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini, a nobleman from Ferrara who had a passion for theatre and arts. Set designer, occasionally theatrical poet (in 1818 he had prepared the libretto for Adina for his friend Rossini), and later a sketch artist of classical monuments, Bevilacqua wrote the new text using the 1816 Italian translation of an 1805 comedy by Duval (Le Menuisier de Livonie) and the more recent libretto that Felice Romani had prepared from it for Giovanni Pacini (Il Falegname di Livonia, Milano Teatro alla Scala, Spring 1819). The story centers on a specific event taking place during one the many travels of Tsar Peter the Great. Traveling incognito he stops at a hotel in the Balkan region, where he witnesses the arrogance and insolence of a top officer against an honest carpenter. He does not only set things straight by punishing the magistrate and restoring the principle that the law is equal for all, but he recognizes in the humble worker his wife’s own brother, who had long been lost. Donizetti created a score that proves his great skill and strong efforts. Influences of Rossini may be recognized, but there are also some clearly personal ideas.
A modern production is therefore particularly interesting for more than one reason: its effective staging and musical delightfulness, the kind of theatre it represents (a comedy with historical characters), the new light it sheds on Donizetti’s early production, his interpretation of strong Rossinian patterns, the early traits of a developing personal style.
L’Ange de Nisida
Opera in four acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaez
Critical edition by Candida Mantica / Opera Rara – Peters, Leipzig, represetned in Italy by Casa Musicale Sonzogno di Piero Ostali, Milan
Donizetti Opera: Bergamo 16 and 21 November 2019
That La Favorite (1840) had a previous version, titled L’Ange de Nisida, was known. Donizetti had written it for the Théâtre de la Renaissance (1839-1840) in Paris but it never saw the light of day, since that theatre, in May 1840 had to interrupt its programs due to financial difficulties. The composer had thus shelved the score without reviewing it. But the lyrics and the music didn’t go lost, and they soon contributed to the creation of La Favorite, written for the Opéra, where it was premiered on 2 December 1840. By extracting the parts belonging to Ange from the score of La Favorite, and by integrating those parts with other discarded but still surviving portions, musicologist Candida Mantica was able to recreate this title that goes back to a fully mature Donizetti. The opera will now finally see its world premiere (it was presented in London last summer, but only as a concert performance). Set on 1400s Neapolitan coast, Ange centers on the love of Don Fernand d’Aragon for Sylvia and their upcoming wedding, hindered by the balance of power between the court of Naples and the Church. But Sylvia is also loved by a young and courageous man, who appears to be naïve and unsuspecting. He discovers the situation after his weeding to Sylvia, a wedding that was supported by the interested king. Shame, coupled with an inner conflict between love and atonement, tear the young man apart. Ange starts off as a comedy, only to take on darker shades as it moves on, eventually reaching a dramatic ending. Those who know La Favorite will realize this is not an earlier version of it with just some minor changes, but a completely different kind or drama.
Melodramatic opera in a prologue and two acts by Felice Romani after Victor Hugo’s play by the same title. Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Premiere: Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 26 December 1833
At the festival Donizetti Opera 2019: version for the Théâtre Italien (Paris, 31 October 1840)
Critical edition by Roger Parker and Rosie Ward / Casa Ricordi Milano with support and collaboration with the Town of Bergamo and the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti
Donizetti Opera: Bergamo 22, 24 and 30 November 2019
The year 1833 saw Donizetti’s life strictly connected with the story of Ferrara. He wrote and brought to success three consecutive operas, all centered on the House of Este, who had held the Lordship over the town for centuries: Parisina, during the Lent season at the Pergola theatre in Florence; Torquato Tasso at the end of summer at the Valle theatre in Rome; and Lucrezia Borgia on 26 December at La Scala.
Of all opera composers, Donizetti was one of the first to find inspiration from the Italian medieval period, and the one who developed the subject with the greatest determination. Seven of his operas focus on the topic, all written in the 1830s: Imelda de’ Lambertazzi (Naples 1830), the above-mentioned three 1833 operas, Buondelmonte (Naples 1834), Marino Faliero (Paris 1835), Pia de’ Tolomei (Venice 1837). Lucrezia Borgia holds another record. Inspired by Victor Hugo’s1833 drama, it was the first time a theatre piece by such a controversial author was instrumental to the writing of an Italian melodramatic opera. Felice Romani (the librettist) and Donizetti took several elements from the revolutionary drama: the heroin’s immorality (considered one of the symbolic characters of the period’s misdeeds) redeemed by her maternal affections, the mixture of styles as opposed to their traditional separation, the grotesque traits. For Donizetti, and for Italian opera, it was an indisputable leap into the most current romantic taste, and a foretaste of Verdi’s Rigoletto, twenty years early.
The Donizetti Opera Festival is organized by the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti and the Town of Bergamo, with support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Fondazione Cariplo, Regione Lombardia, Bergamo’s Chamber of Commerce. In collaboration with Gaetano Donizetti Conservatory, Fondazione Mia, Opera Europa, Sacbo, Atb.
With contributions from ABenergie, providing the lighting for the Donizetti Night; San Lucio Events; Charity partner Stucchi spa; media partner Classica.
Special thanks to the Ambassadors of Donizetti, who support the Foundation’s activities through the Art Bonus:
• Assolari Luigi & C. S.p.A. • Automha S.p.A. • Beauty & Business S.p.A. • D’Orica srl • Calvi Holding S.p.A. • Caseificio Defendi Luigi Srl • CrispiUP • FraMar S.p.A • Franciacorta • Granulati Zanobbio S.p.A • Gripple srl • Italcanditi S.p.A. • Lovato Electric S.p.A. • Montello S.p.A. • Neodecortech S.p.A. • OMB Valves S.p.A. • F.lli Pellegrini S.p.A.• Persico S.p.A. • Rulmeca Holding S.p.A. • Tenaris - Dalmine
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