Chiara e Serafina

Last updated

Chiara e Serafina, o I pirati (Chiara and Serafina, or The Pirates) is an opera semiseria in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Felice Romani, based on the melodrama La cisterne by René Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt. Donizetti's first opera for La Scala, it was premiered on October 26, 1822, but was not a success. Donizetti was not given the opportunity to compose again for La Scala until writing Ugo, conte di Parigi nearly a decade later.

Opera semiseria is an Italian genre of opera, popular in the early and middle 19th century.

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.

Felice Romani Italian writer

Felice Romani was an Italian poet and scholar of literature and mythology who wrote many librettos for the opera composers Donizetti and Bellini. Romani was considered the finest Italian librettist between Metastasio and Boito.

Contents

Composition

The commission for Chiara e Serafina came about not long after the successful premiere of the farsa La lettera anonima in Naples. Upon requesting the new work, La Scala paired Donizetti with Felice Romani, the foremost librettist then working in Italy, but an individual who was notorious for failing to deliver his work on time. Such proved to be the case once again; he promised a libretto in seven weeks, but three weeks before the premiere had failed to deliver any more than a first act. Consequently, Donizetti was forced to compose the opera in under two weeks. It was premiered after two more weeks spent in rehearsal, but the audience was unimpressed. Twelve performances were scheduled, but after they were finished the opera appears to have disappeared without a trace. No further performances are known. A likely reason for the opera's lack of popularity, besides the haste in which it was composed, was a major treason trial in Milan; this kept the public from visiting theaters, which were being watched by police. [1]

<i>La lettera anonima</i> opera

La lettera anonima is a farce in one act composed by Gaetano Donizetti in 1822 to a libretto by Giulio Genoino, a former monk and the official censor of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Genoino based his libretto on his own farce which, in turn, had been based on Mélite, ou Les fausses lettres by Pierre Corneille in 1630.

For his part, Donizetti seems to have accepted the inevitability of a failure. He wrote to his old teacher, Simone Mayr: "I suggest that you bring a Requiem to the performance, for I shall be slaughtered, and thus the funeral rites can be taken care of." [1]

Roles

RoleVoice typeInterpreter at premiere
(October 26, 1822)
Chiara soprano Isabella Fabbrica
Serafina mezzo-soprano Rosa Morandi
Don Ramiro, son of the podestà of Minorca, in love with to Serafina tenor Savino Monelli
Picaro, former servant of Don Fernando, now a pirate baritone or basso cantante Antonio Tamburini
Lisetta, daughter of Sancio and Agnese contralto or soprano Maria Gioja-Tamburini
Agnese, custodian of the castle of Belmontemezzo-sopranoCarolina Sivelli
Don Meschino, wealthy villager of Belmont, foolish, in love with Lisettaspoken roleNicola de Grecis
Don Fernando, tutor of Serafina, false friend of Don Alvaro, rich lord of MinorcatenorCarlo Poggiali (perhaps Poggioli?)
Don Alvaro, ship's captain, enslaved in Algeria, father of Chiara and Serafinaspoken role or bass Carlo Pizzochero
Gennaro, pirate captainspoken roleCarlo Poggiali
Spalatro, pirate captainspoken roleCarlo Dona
Chorus of peasants, pirates and guards

Plot

The opera takes place in Spain during the seventeenth century. [1]

Act I

Don Alvaro, father of Chiara and Serafina, is a sea captain who was captured by pirates while sailing with Chiara from Cadiz to Mallorca; for ten years he has been a slave. Don Fernando is secretly his enemy, and has engineered things so that his disappearance appears to be treason, for which he has been convicted in absentia. He has had himself named Serafina's guardian; now she has grown older and more attractive, he plans to marry her for her fortune. But Serafina loves Don Ramiro, whose father is the mayor of Menorca. He asks her guardian for her hand. Don Fernando, unable to justify denying the request, must create a ruse. The story is explained by Agnese, keeper of the castle.

Menorca one of the Balearic Islands

Menorca or Minorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Majorca.

Don Meschino is in love with Agnese's daughter, Lisetta, and asks to marry her. She refuses, but at that moment a storm blows up, during which Don Alvaro and Chiara appear. They ask Agnese and Lisette for assistance, without revealing their identities.

That night, the pirate Picaro, a former servant of Don Fernando's, appears looking for work. Don Fernando offers him a reward to prevent Serafina's wedding. Picaro disguises himself as Don Alvaro and presents himself to the lovers; believing her father found, Serafina is persuaded to postpone her wedding. Chiara arrives disguised as a beggar, but is not recognized by her sister. She and the true Don Alvaro confuse Picaro, who repents and promises assistance, but then flees.

Act II

In search of their leader, the pirates storm the castle, capturing Don Meschino, Lisetta, and Chiara. Picaro enters, now undisguised, and frees the prisoners. The sisters are reunited, and Don Ramiro swears eternal love to Serafina. In the end, all believe that Chiara has fled with the pirates, but she returns with Picaro.

Recordings

No complete recordings of Chiara e Serafina exist, but one number has been recorded by Opera Rara and released as part of an anthology. [2]

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.

Related Research Articles

<i>La Cenerentola</i> opera by Gioachino Rossini

La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo is an operatic dramma giocoso in two acts by Gioachino Rossini. The libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, based on the fairy tale Cendrillon by Charles Perrault. The opera was first performed in Rome's Teatro Valle on 25 January 1817.

<i>Maria Stuarda</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Maria Stuarda is a tragic opera, in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffei's translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play Maria Stuart.

<i>Lucrezia Borgia</i> (opera) Opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Lucrezia Borgia is a melodramatic opera in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after the play Lucrezia Borgia by Victor Hugo, in its turn after the legend of Lucrezia Borgia. Lucrezia Borgia was first performed on 26 December 1833 at La Scala, Milan.

Giuseppe Persiani was an Italian opera composer.

Luigi Ricci (composer) Italian opera composer

Luigi Ricci, was an Italian composer, particularly of operas. He was the elder brother of Federico Ricci, with whom he collaborated on several works. He was also a conductor.

<i>Il campanello</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Il campanello or Il campanello di notte is a melodramma giocoso, or opera, in one act by Gaetano Donizetti. The composer wrote the Italian libretto after Mathieu-Barthélemy Troin Brunswick and Victor Lhérie's French vaudeville La sonnette de nuit. The premiere took place on 1 June 1836 at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples and was "revived every year over the next decade".

<i>Lajo nellimbarazzo</i> opera

L'ajo nell'imbarazzo is a melodramma giocoso, or opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, after the 1807 play by Giovanni Giraud. At its premiere at the Teatro Valle, Rome on 4 February 1824, it "was greeted with wild enthusiasm [and] it was with this opera that [...] Donizetti had his first really lasting success" During revisions planned for the 1826 production in Naples, Donizetti renamed the opera Don Gregorio, and it is under that name that most later productions were staged.

<i>Alina, regina di Golconda</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Alina, regina di Golconda is an opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Felice Romani after Michel-Jean Sedaine's French libretto for Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny's ballet-heroique Aline, reine de Golconde, in its turn based on the novel by Stanislas de Boufflers.

<i>Ugo, conte di Parigi</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Ugo, conte di Parigi is a tragedia lirica, or tragic opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Hippolyte-Louis-Florent Bis's Blanche d'Aquitaine. It premiered on 13 March 1832 at La Scala, Milan.

<i>Beatrice di Tenda</i> tragic opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini

Beatrice di Tenda is a tragic opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini, from a libretto by Felice Romani, after the play of the same name by Carlo Tedaldi Fores.

<i>Bianca e Fernando</i> Opera seria by Vincenzo Bellini

Bianca e Fernando is an opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini.

<i>Gianni di Parigi</i> opera comica in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti

Gianni di Parigi is an 1839 melodramma comico in two acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Felice Romani, which had previously been set by Francesco Morlacchi in 1818 and by Giovanni Antonio Speranza in 1836.

<i>Il falegname di Livonia</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Il falegname di Livonia, o Pietro il grande, czar delle Russie is an 1819 opera buffa in two acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti set to a libretto by Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini. The libretto was based in part on Felice Romani's libretto for Giovanni Pacini's opera Il falegname di Livonia, which had just been presented at La Scala in Milan on 12 April 1819. Another source was Alexandre Duval's comedy Le menuisier de Livonie, ou Les illustres voyageurs (1805).

<i>La zingara</i> opera

La zingara is an opera semiseria in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola after La petite bohémienne by Louis-Charles Caigniez, which was itself derived from a work of August von Kotzebue.

Carlo Evasio Soliva was a Swiss-Italian composer of opera, chamber music, and sacred choral works. Soliva was born in Casale Monferrato, Piedmont to a family of Swiss chocolatiers who had emigrated from the canton of Ticino. He studied pianoforte and composition at the Milan Conservatory.

<i>Aureliano in Palmira</i> opera by Gioachino Rossini

Aureliano in Palmira is an operatic dramma serio in two acts written by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto in which the librettist was credited only by the initials "G. F. R." The libretto has generally been attributed to Giuseppe Felice Romani, but sometimes to the otherwise unknown Gian Francesco Romanelli. It has been suggested that the latter name may have resulted from a confusion of Romani with Luigi Romanelli, La Scala's house poet prior to Romani's appointment to the post.

<i>Bianca e Falliero</i> opera by Gioachino Rossini

Bianca e Falliero, ossia Il consiglio dei tre is a two-act operatic melodramma by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Felice Romani. The libretto was based on Antoine-Vincent Arnault's play Les Vénitiens, ou Blanche et Montcassin.

<i>Adelia</i> (opera) opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Adelia, o La figlia dell'arciere is an opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written partly by Felice Romani and by Girolamo Maria Marini, a part-time poet who had achieved notability the previous year with Otto Nicolai's Il templario. The opera premiered at the Teatro Apollo, Rome on 11 February 1841.

Rosa Morandi

Rosa Morandi, born in Senigallia, 15 July, 1782, died in Milan 4 May, 1824, was an Italian operatic mezzo-soprano. She is especially notable for having created leading roles in operas by Meyerbeer and Rossini.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Osborne 1994, p. 151.
  2. "Donizetti Society Donizetti Works Page" . Retrieved 6 March 2016.