Alfredo il grande

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Alfredo il grande (Alfred the Great) is a melodramma serio or serious opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Andrea Leone Tottola wrote the Italian libretto, which may have been derived from Johann Simon Mayr's 1818 opera of the same name. The opera tells the story of the Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great.

Melodramma is a 17th-century Italian term for a text to be set as an opera, or the opera itself. In the 19th-century, it was used in a much narrower sense by English writers to discuss developments in the early Italian libretto, e.g., Rigoletto and Un ballo in maschera. Characteristic are the influence of French bourgeois drama, female instead of male protagonists, and the practice of opening the action with a chorus.

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

Gaetano Donizetti 19th-century Italian opera composer

Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.

Contents

This opera, with its "highly Rossini-influenced score" [1] was Donizetti's first exploration into British history, but it turned out to be a spectacular failure. It received its premiere on 2 July 1823 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and this also became its last performance.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 2 July 1823
(Conductor: Nicola Festa)
Alfredo, King of England tenor Andrea Nozzari
Amalia, his Queen soprano Elisabetta Ferron
Eduardo, General of the English army bass Pio Botticelli
Atkins, General of the Danish armybass Michele Benedetti
Enrichetta, an English country girl mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Cecconi
Margherita, another country girlsoprano Gaetana Gorini
Rivers, a Danetenor Gaetano Chizzola
Guglielmo, pastoretenor Massimo Orlandini
Chorus of shepherdesses, English warriors, Danish warriors, armed shepherds

Synopsis

Time: The ninth century
Place: Isle of Athelny in Somerset

Recordings

Opera Rara is a British non-profit recording company, founded in the early 1970s by American Patric Schmid and Englishman Don White to promote concerts of rare and/or forgotten operas by bel canto era composers such as Italian composers Gaetano Donizetti, Giovanni Pacini, Saverio Mercadante, and Federico Ricci, as well as French composers of the 1830s forward such as Giacomo Meyerbeer.

David Parry is an English conductor who is particularly known for his work within the field of opera. Described as "a man of the theatre with whom directors love to work; he is good with singers; he knows the British opera world like the back of his hand. He is a controversial and outspoken defender of the operatic form, and a passionate advocate of opera in English", his work includes a large discography of complete opera recordings of rarely performed works made on the Opera Rara and Chandos record labels, as well as works recorded with well-known British and European orchestras. Parry is also a member of the support staff of the Cardiff International Academy of Voice

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra orchestra based in London

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), based in London, was formed by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1946. In its early days the orchestra secured profitable recording contracts and important engagements including the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the concerts of the Royal Philharmonic Society. After Beecham's death in 1961 the orchestra's fortunes declined steeply; it battled for survival until the mid-1960s, when its future was secured after an Arts Council report recommended that it should receive public subsidy; a further crisis arose in the same era when it seemed that the orchestra's right to call itself "Royal" could be withdrawn.

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References

Notes

  1. Osborne 1994, p. 153

Cited sources

Charles Thomas Osborne was an Australian journalist, theatre and opera critic, poet and novelist. He was the assistant editor of The London Magazine from 1958 until 1966, literature director of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1971 until 1986, and chief theatre critic of Daily Telegraph (London) from 1986 to 1991.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Other sources

William Ashbrook was an American musicologist, writer, journalist, and academic. He was perhaps best noted as a historian, researcher and popularizer of the works of Italian opera composer Gaetano Donizetti.

Stanley John Sadie was an influential and prolific British musicologist, music critic, and editor. He was editor of the sixth edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), which was published as the first edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.