Gaetano Donizetti (1797 -1848) Italian composer of classical music, especially famous for his operas. Donizetti was a very prolific composer , his works include 75 operas, 16 symphonies, 19 strings quartets, 193 songs, 45 duets, 3 oratorios, 28 cantatas, concerts, sonatas and other pieces for chamber music. Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini were the three great masters of the opera style known as “ Bel Canto ” . Bel canto operas had set numbers of separate arias and ensembles that featured particularly florid vocal writing designed to show off the human voice to maximum effect. These works demanded great virtuosity from the singers and served as star vehicles for leading operatic performers. Donizetti dominated the Italian opera scene during the years between Bellini's death and Verdi's rise to fame after Nabucco. He was also a master of the drama and took care that his librettists gave him workable situations in which to display his singers to arouse maximum excitement with traditional and transformative use of melody.
Donizetti stands stylistically between Rossini and Verdi; his scenes are usually more expanded in structure than those of Rossini, but he never blurred the lines between set pieces and recitative as Verdi did in his middle-period and late works. Often compared to his contemporary, Bellini, Donizetti produced a wider variety of operas and showed a greater stylistic flexibility. Two of his best-known comedies, L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843), are considered masterpieces of comic opera and continue to hold their places in the standard performing repertoire. Perhaps his most famous serious opera is Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), although Anna Bolena and la Fille du Regiment , have enjoyed also considerable success in recent times. Donizetti achieved in his operas sublime dramatic constructions in which the excitement is built entirely on melody leading into melody, never letting the tension slip. For example in scenes such as the confrontation of the Duke and Duchess in Lucrezia Borgia , the great scene of the sextet in Lucia, the intricate duet of Pasquale and Norina in Don Pasquale, and the prologue of Lucrezia Borgia.
Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643) Giovanni Battista Lulli (1632 - 1687) Alessandro Scarlatti (1660 - 1725) Tomaso Albinoni (1671 - 1751) Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741), Domenico Cimarosa (1749 – 1801) Luigi Cherubini (1760 - 1842) Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868) Gaetano Donizetti (1797 - 1848) Vincenzo Bellini (1801 - 1835) Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) Amilcare Ponchielli (1834 - 1886) Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857 - 1919) Giacomo Puccini (1858 -1924) Pietro Mascagni (1863 – 1945) Ottorino Respighi (1879 - 1936) Chronology of the Italian Composers
A Brief History of Italian Opera Pour mon ame fille La Fille du Regiment
The 17th Century: Opera is Born In the 1590s, Jacopo Peri met Jacopo Corsi, the leading patron of music in Florence, and they decided to recreate a form of Greek tragedy, following in the footsteps of the Florentine Camerata, they invited the poet Ottavio Rinuccini to write a text, and the first opera Dafne was born. Euridice, was the second opera of Jacopo Peri, written in 1600 with Giulio Caccini, is the earliest surviving opera and was initially performed as part of the celebrations for a Medici wedding, thereby catapulting opera into the mainstream of court entertainment. Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) Claudio Monteverdi was a native of Mantua, Lombardy, who wrote his first opera, La Favola d'Orfeo , in 1607 for the court. Moving to Venice in 1613, Monteverdi subsequently enriched the performance of opera by adding an orchestra, more lavish costumes and sets, and a more dramatic vocal style. Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to the Baroque.
The 18th Century: Opera Seria vs Opera Buffa Towards the end of the 17th century a new genre, opera seria (serious opera), became dominant in Europe . This was in response to the popularity of the Neapolitan invention, opera buffa (comic opera), that had spread throughout Italy during the mid 1700s. Opera Seria aimed for simplicity of style, classical themes, poetic ideals and life affirming values. Alessandro Scarlatti (1660 – 1725) was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. Other famous opera composers of the 18th century are: Tomaso Albinoni, Antonio Vivaldi and Domenico Cimarosa. In the second half of the 18th century playwright Carlo Goldoni and composer Baldassare Galuppi modified the comic opera form to include two to three acts, more complexity of plot and character, and social themes. Goldoni and Galuppi's most famous collaboration is il Filosofo di Campagna (1754)
The 19th Century: The Romantic Period In the early 19th century composer Gioacchino Rossini modified the dramatic excesses which typified the theater of his era to initiate opera's Romantic period. His most famous works are The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola and William Tell . Vincenzo Bellini, born in Catania, Sicily, and known for his long-flowing melodies. Bellini is considered the quintessential composer of “ belcanto” opera. Gaetano Donizetti was born in Bergamo, Lombardy, but wrote in Rome, Milan and Naples. Donizetti became famous throughout Europe with his operas : L’Elisir d'Amore , Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale . Giuseppe Verdi was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century. Verdi experimented with musical and dramatic forms, and transformed the whole nature of operatic writing during his career. In 1877, he created Otello which is described by critics as the finest of Italian romantic operas. Many of his operas are all time classics: Nabucco, La Traviata, il Trovatore, Aida and Rigoletto.
The 20th Century Giacomo Puccini wrote some of the greatest Italian operas of the 20th century, including Manon Lescaut , La Bohème , Tosca , and Madame Butterfly . La Bohème (1896) is considered one of his best works as well as one of the most romantic operas ever composed. It is, together with Tosca, one of the world's most popular operas. Puccini also wrote orchestral pieces, sacred music, chamber music and compositions for piano and voice. Other composers who continued working during the 20 th century were: Ruggiero Leoncavallo with his opera Pagliacci in 1892. Pietro Mascagni with his famous opera Cavalleria Rusticana in 1890. Ottorino Respighi composed La Fiama (The Flame) in 1934. Italian opera remains a popular form of entertainment throughout the world, with works by its most eminent composers being performed every day on a stage somewhere. Una Furtiva Lagrima L’elisir d’amore
Biography Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was born in Bergamo in 1797 , a ragged child, who had the near-miraculous good fortune to be taken under the wing of Johann Simon Mayr , Maestro di Cappella of the Lombard city who educated, protected and sent him on for further musical training under the renowned Padre Stanlislao Mattei at Bologna. Dazzled by this transformation and at first inclined to devote himself to church music, the youthful Donizetti only tentatively embraced the stage. Perhaps unbelieving of his fate, he only slowly abandoned the lighter forms, the farces and semi- seria works which initiated his operatic career, but always flaunting quick-wits and ingenuity which drew attentive ears even in the age of Rossini. Based in Naples from 1822, between 1820 and 1830 he indefatigably attempted every type of opera on offer in the peninsula, sometimes with fleeting success Zoraida di Granata (1822) and La zingara (1822)], sometimes with some failure, as in Chiara e Serafina (1822) and Alfredo il grande (1823)] but always relentlessly professional and fluent. Nothing, ever, was left to chance.
Achieving success in Italy In 1826 he tried his hand at Tragedy for the first time with “Gabriella di Vergy”. From 1827 onwards he turned his hand to Heroic Neoclassical Drama: L’esule di Roma (1828) and film-script-like travelogue plots Otto mesi in due ore (1827), il castello di Kenilworth (1829). At the end of the decade, he turned to Romantic Melodramma: il Paria (1829) and Imelda de’Lambertazzi (1830). Comedy also co-existed throughout this long pilgrimage L’ajo nell’imbarazzo (1824); Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (1827); and il giovedi grasso (1829)] so that, unlike most of his rivals, he found himself with every style at his disposal for the rest of his life. To mark the end of this evolution, sometimes light-hearted, often painful but always vivid, his successful Anna Bolena of 1830 proved to be a catalyst. Championed by the soprano Giuditta Pasta and Giovanni Rubini, the super stars of the day, he was catapulted beyond the Italian frontiers to shine on every major stage. Henceforth Donizetti took the operatic world by storm.
He wrote two or three high-profile operas a year, together with cantatas, masses and motets, fulfilling every commission. With a lot of contracts and libretti, at the hub of all theatrical turmoil , he took on a teaching role at Naples Conservatoire in 1834-1835 surrounding himself with pupils who remembered his warmth and generosity for the rest of their lives. Neapolitan enough to have written some of the most popular songs of the day he remained an outsider, a “foreigner” throughout his stay. An abrasive situation that reached a climax when, his wife died. His major operas were refused to be played at the San Carlo Theater due to their chain of unforgettably brilliant deaths and disasters, the Naples government was trying to stem the tide of romantic drama fearing public unrest. He refused the vacant post of Director of the Conservatoire and finally Donizetti determined to leave Naples. Thus, in 1838, Naples lost for good the composer of most of the operas that shone brightest in the decade: L’elisir d’amore (1832), Parisina (1833), Lucrezia Borgia (1833), Maria Stuarda (1834), Roberto Devereux (1837) and above all “Lucia di Lammermoor” in1835, his most acclaimed opera.
His international career Decamping first to Paris, then to Vienna , where he was given the appointment of Court composer, he intensified his output, writing ever more ambitious scores, the international sophistication of his life coloring both his instrumentation and his expressive vocabulary. To French texts he wrote La Fille du régiment (1840), Les Martyrs (1840), and La Favorite (1840) a grand-slam which left the Paris stage reeling, following this with Don Sébastien roi de Portugal of 1843 which he considered his masterpiece. The last three of which being modish examples of the “grand opera” mode, gigantic block-busters with spectacular settings and an integral ballet. For Vienna he wrote Linda di Chamounix (1842) and Maria di Rohan (1843) both of which were soon transferred to Paris in suitably modified editions. His acute sensitivity to local tastes and command of vernacular style were never more in evidence. il tuo dubbio é ormai certezza Lucia di Lammermoor
His illness and death In 1843, for Paris too came his last and most momentous comedy: Don Pasquale , which not only raised the roof with an unparalleled cast (Grisi, Mario, Tamburini, Lablache), but also had the honor of bidding farewell, almost, to the long and irresistible tradition of Italian comic opera. It said farewell too, almost, to the composer himself. For decades he had suffered from fevers, headaches, nausea, lightning indispositions for which no real diagnosis was ever made, these accompanied by a fervor of composition indicative of a cerebral dysrhythmia quite beyond the normal span. In 1845 he was struck by paralysis. After tha his family and friends moved him to Bergamo, where he finally died on April 8 th , 1848 .
Operas il Pigmalione (1816) Olimpiade (1817) L'ira di Achille (1817) Enrico di Borgogna (1818) Una follia (1818) I piccioli virtuosi ambulanti (1819) Pietro il Grande zar di tutte le Russie (1819), Le nozze in villa (1820) Zoraida di Granata (1822) La Zingara (1822) La lettera anonima (1822) Chiara e Serafina (1822) Alfredo il grande (1823) Il fortunato inganno (1823) L'ajo nell'imbarazzo (1824) Emilia di Liverpool (1824) Alahor in Granata (1826) Don Gregorio (1826) Elvida (1826) List of Works
Gabriella di Vergy (1826) 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 (1828) Emilia di Liverpool (Rev.) (1828) Alina, regina di Golconda (1828) Gianni di Calais (1828) Il paria (1829) Il giovedi grasso (1829) Il castello di Kenilworth (1829) Alina, regina di Golconda (Rev.) (1829) I pazzi per progetto (1830) Il diluvio universale (1830) Imelda de' Lambertazzi (1830) Anna Bolena (1830) Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (Rev.) (1831) Gianni di Parigi (1831) Francesca di Foix (1831) La romanziera e l'uomo nero (1831) Fausta (1832) Ugo, conte di Parigi (1832) A mes ami La Fille du Regiment
L'elisir d'amore (1832) Sancia di Castiglia (1832) Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo (1833) Otto mesi in due ore (Rev.) (1833) Parisina (1833) Torquato Tasso (1833) Lucrezia Borgia (1833) Il diluvio universale (Rev.) (1834) Rosmonda d'Inghilterra (1834) Maria Stuarda (1834) Gemma di Vergy (1834) Marin Faliero (1835) Lucia di Lammermoor (1835) Belisario (1836) Il campanello di notte (1836) Betly (1836) L'assedio di Calais (1836) Pia de' Tolomei (1837) Betly (Rev.) (1837) Roberto Devereux (1837) Maria de Rudenz (1838) Gabriella di Vergy (Rev.) (1838) Poliuto (1838)
Pia de' Tolomei (Rev.2) (1838) Lucie de Lammermoor (in French) (1839) Le duc d'Albe (1839) Lucrezia Borgia (Rev.) (1840) Poliuto (Rev.) (1840) La fille du régiment (1840) L'ange de Nisida (1839) Lucrezia Borgia (Rev.2) (1840) La Favorite (Rev. of L'ange de Nisida) (1840) Adelia (1841) Rita (1841) Maria Padilla (1841) Linda di Chamounix (1842) Caterina Cornaro (1844) Don Pasquale (1843) Maria di Rohan (1843) Dom Sébastien (1843) Dom Sébastien (Rev.) (1845)
Choral Works Ave Maria Grande Offertorio Messa da Requiem Messa di Gloria e Credo Miserere (Psalm 50) Orchestral Works Allegro para cuerdas en C mayor L'ajo nell'imbarazzo: Sinfonia Larghetto, tema e variazioni in E flat major Roberto Devereux: Sinfonia Sinfonia Concertante in D major (1818) Sinfonia for Winds in G minor (1817) Sinfonia in A major Sinfonia in C major Sinfonia in D major Sinfonia in D minor Ugo, conte di Parigi: Sinfonia
Concerts Concertino for Clarinet in B flat major Concertino for English Horn in G major Concertino in C minor for flute and chamber orchestra Concertino for Flute and Orchestra in C major Concertino for Flute and Orchestra in D major Concertino for Oboe in F major Concertino for Violin and Cello in D minor Concerto for 2 Clarinets "Maria Padilla" Concerto for Violin and Cello in D minor Chamber Music Andante sostenuto for Oboe and Harp in F minor Introduction for Strings in D major Larghetto and Allegro for Violin and Harp in G minor Largo/Moderato for Cello and Piano in G minor Nocturnes (4) for Winds and Strings Quartet for Strings in D major Quartet for Strings no 3 in C minor: 2nd movement Quartet for Strings no 4 in D major Quartet for Strings no 5 in E minor Quartet for Strings no 5 in E minor: Larghetto Per te d’immenso giubilo Lucia di Lammermoor
Chamber Music Quartet for Strings no 6 in G minor Quartet for Strings no 7 in F minor Quartet for Strings no 8 in B flat major Quartet for Strings no 9 in D minor Quartet for Strings no 10 in G minor Quartet for Strings no 11 in C major Quartet for Strings no 12 in C major Quartet for Strings no 13 in A major Quartet for Strings no 14 in D major Quartet for Strings no 15 in F major Quartet for Strings no 16 in B minor Quartet for Strings no 17 in D major Quartet for Strings no 18 in E minor Quartet for Strings no 18 in E minor: Allegro Quintet for Guitar and Strings no 2 in C major Solo de concert Sonata for Flute and Harp Sonata for Flute and Piano in C minor Sonata for Oboe and Piano in F major Study for Clarinet no 1 in B flat major Trio for Flute, Bassoon and Piano in F major
Piano Works Adagio and Allegro for Piano in G major Allegro for Piano in C major Allegro for Piano in F minor Fugue for Piano in G minor Grand Waltz for Piano in A major Larghetto for Piano in A minor "Una furtiva lagrima" Larghetto for Piano in C major Pastorale for Piano in E major Presto for Piano in F minor Sinfonia for Piano in A major Sinfonia for Piano no 1 in C major Sinfonia for Piano no 1 in D major Sinfonia for Piano no 2 in C major Sinfonia for Piano no 2 in D major Sonata for Piano in C major Sonata for Piano in F major Sonata for Piano in G major Variations for Piano in E major Variations for Piano in G major Waltz for Piano in A major Waltz for Piano in C major Waltz for Piano in C major "The Invitation"
E N D AAVM 150911 Reference: http://www.donizettisociety.com/donizettilife.htm