Don Gregorio (opera)

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Don Gregorio is an 1826 opera by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Jacopo Ferretti and adapted from his popular 1824 opera buffa L'ajo nell'imbarazzo (The Tutor Embarrassed), which had enjoyed considerable success when presented at the Teatro Valle in Rome on 4 February 1824. [1]

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.

Jacopo Ferretti Italian librettist

Jacopo Ferretti was an Italian writer, poet and opera librettist. His name is sometimes written as Giacomo Ferretti.

Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as commedia in musica, commedia per musica, dramma bernesco, dramma comico, divertimento giocoso.

Contents

When Francesco Tortoli was interested in producing it in Naples, it was determined that L'ajo nell'imbarazzo was unsuitable as it stood. Donizetti then signed a contract with Tortoli for 300 ducats to adapt it into a new opera, Don Gregorio, and to compose one further opera. For the adaptation, Donizetti composed some additional music, revised the recitatives into spoken dialogue, and translated the role of Don Gregorio into the Neapolitan dialect. The opera premiered at the Teatro Nuovo on 11 June 1826.

Francesco Tortoli was an Italian scenographer, active in Naples from 1808 at the city's principal theatres—Teatro San Carlo, Teatro del Fondo and Teatro dei Fiorentini. He was the creator of sets for numerous productions including those for the world premieres of Rossini's La gazzetta, Otello, Armida, Mosè in Egitto, and La donna del lago. Tortoli was born in Florence and died in Naples of cholera at the age of 35.

Ducat gold or silver coin used as a trade coin in Europe

The ducat was a gold or silver coin used as a trade coin in Europe from the later Middle Ages until as late as the 20th century. Many types of ducats had various metallic content and purchasing power throughout the period. The gold ducat of Venice gained wide international acceptance, like the medieval Byzantine hyperpyron and the Florentine florin, or the modern British Pound sterling and the United States dollar.

Recitative is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech. Recitative does not repeat lines as formally composed songs do. It resembles sung ordinary speech more than a formal musical composition.

Performance history

19th century

Having been given under its original title, Donizetti revisions became Don Gregorio, and with that name, it premiered at the Teatro Nuovo. That same year, it also was given at La Scala and many Italian theatres. On 28 July 1846 it was first given in London, [1] but "seems to have disappeared from view until it turned up again in Italy in the twentieth century". [2] However, under one or other of its names, the opera was presented as late as 1866 in Milan and 1879 in Venice. [3]

La Scala Opera house in Milan, Italy

La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.

20th century and beyond

Don Gregorio was presented at the Teatro Donizetti in the composer's home town of Bergamo in 1959 and an Italian TV production was broadcast in 1964. [4] It was not until 1980 that it appeared in New York. [1]

Teatro Donizetti theatre and opera house in Bergamo, Italy

The Teatro Donizetti is an opera house in Bergamo, Italy. Built in the 1780s using a design by architect Giovanni Francesco Lucchini, the theatre was originally referred to as either the Teatro Nuovo or Teatro di Fiera. The first opera to be mounted at the theatre, Giuseppe Sarti's Medonte, re di Epiro, was in 1784 while the opera house was still under construction. The official opening of the house, under the name the Teatro Riccardi, did not occur until 24 August 1791 with a production of Pietro Metastasio's Didone abbandonata set to music by multiple composers, including Ferdinando Bertoni, Giacomo Rampini, Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Giuseppe Gazzaniga, and Giovanni Paisiello.

Bergamo Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Bergamo is a city in the alpine Lombardy region of northern Italy, approximately 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Milan, and approximately 30 km (19 mi) from Switzerland, the alpine lakes Como and Iseo, and 70 km (43 mi) from Garda and Maggiore. The Bergamo Alps begin immediately north of the city.

A successful staging of L'ajo nell'imbarazzo by the Wexford Festival in 1973 led to that opera appearing in four additional European cities between 1975 and 1990, and in 2006, Wexford staged Don Gregorio, based on the new critical edition [5] by Maria Chiara Bertieri. [6]

Don Gregorio was then revived in Bergamo, Fano and Catania, with Paolo Bordogna in the title role and directed for the stage by Roberto Recchia. A new video recording was made from live performances given by the Teatro Donizetti in November 2007.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast,
11 June 1826
(Conductor: -)
Don Gregorio bass
Gilda soprano
Leonarda mezzo-soprano
Marchese Enrico tenor
Don Giulio Antiquati baritone
Marchese Pippettotenor

Synopsis

Time: Early nineteenth century
Place: An Italian city

Marquis Giulio demands that his sons, Enrico and Pippetto, grow up in complete ignorance of all matters of the flesh. Yet Enrico has secretly married Gilda, and they even have a son. Exasperated by the life he's forced to lead, the youth begs the elderly tutor Gregorio for help, and has him meet his wife. When, however, the Marquis arrives, Gilda remains trapped in Gregorio's room. She worries, for she must nurse her child: Gregorio is forced to fetch the baby and bring it to her, hidden under his cloak. Leonarda, an old servant in the household, informs the Marquis of her suspicions; he discovers Gilda, but is convinced she must be the tutor's lover. In the tempestuous scene that follows, involving all the characters, the truth finally comes out. The Marquis realizes his error, and decides to entrust his younger son, Pippetto, to Enrico, so that he might help him learn "the ways of the world."

Recordings

YearCast:
(Gregorio Cordebono,
Gilda Tallemanni,
Leonarda,
Marchese Enrico,
Don Giulio Antiquati,
Marchese Pippetto)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra,
Creative team
Label [7]
2007Paolo Bordogna,
Elizaveta Martirosyan,
Alessandra Fratelli,
Giorgio Trucco,
Giorgio Valerio,
Livio Scarpellini
Stefano Montanari,
Chorus and Orchestra of the Bergamo Gaetano Donizetti Music Festival.


Roberto Recchia, stage director. Ferdia Murphy, set and costume designer.
(Recorded at performances at the Donizetti Music Festival, 2–4 November)

DVD: Dynamic
Cat: 33579

See also

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Ashbrook and Hibberd 2001, p. 226
  2. Osborne 1994, p. 156
  3. Weinstock 1963, p. 318
  4. "Details of cast and crew on imdb.com". Archived from the original on 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  5. Critical edition of Don Gregorio [ permanent dead link ] produced by the Fondazione Donizetti, Bergamo; no date, on Donizetti.org. Retrieved 12 December 2013
  6. In the introduction to the critical edition, Bertieri notes: "Two years after the first performance of the opera buffa in two acts in the Teatro Valle in 1824, Donizetti decided to put it back on stage at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples in the summer of 1826. This new version of the work, which probably had the original title, although today we call Don Gregorio (as does Donizetti in his correspondence). There were several changes: first, the addition of three new "numbers" which Donizetti wrote in collaboration with librettist Andrea Leo Tottola....Moreover, all the recitatives were replaced by prose pieces. Also, the part of the protagonist, Don Gregorio, is almost entirely in the Neapolitan dialect. This score is the result of a computer transcription of all sources related to the Neapolitan version incusing the autograph score and libretto.
  7. Source for recording information: Recording(s) of Don Gregorio on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Cited 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.

Amanda Juliet Holden is a British musician, librettist and translator.

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