Enrico di Borgogna

Last updated

Enrico di Borgogna (Henry of Burgundy) is an opera eroica or "heroic" opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Bartolomeo Merelli (who later, as Intendant at La Scala, was to commission Verdi's first opera), wrote the Italian libretto based on Der Graf von Burgund by August von Kotzebue.

Contents

Enrico di Borgogna was the third opera composed by Donizetti, but the first to be performed. It premiered on 14 November 1818 at the Teatro San Luca in Venice. In spite of difficulties at the premiere, the critic of Nuovo osservatore veneziano noted of Donizetti that "one cannot but recognize a regular handling and expressive quality in his style. For these, the public wanted to salute Signor Donizetti on stage at the end of the opera". [1]

For the first time in 192 years, the opera was presented at the Vadstena Academy in Sweden in July/August 2012. [2]

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 14 November 1818
(Conductor:)
Brunone baritone Giuseppe Fioravanti
Elisamezzo-soprano Adelina Catalani
Enricocontralto Fanny Eckerlin
GeltrudesopranoAdelaide Cassago
GuidotenorEliodoro Spech
GilbertobassAndrea Verni
NicolatenorPietro Verducci
PietrotenorGiuseppe Fusconi

Synopsis

The king has been deceived and murdered by his own brother. The king's bodyguards, Pietro and Brunone, manage to escape with Enrico, the first-born son of the king and the rightful heir to the throne. During Pietro’s escape, his wife is killed before they can get to safety. Brunone stays in the castle, becoming the new king's bodyguard.

Time: The Middle Ages
Place: Burgundy

Act 1

Nicola, the young shepherd, and his friends find the old man Pietro weeping before by his wife's grave, as he has done many times. They try to cheer him up, and, after that, carry on with their work, leaving Pietro alone.

Enrico, now a young man, is on his way home from fishing; he is tired of the simple life up in the mountains and is longing for something more exciting. He is also thinking about the girl of his dreams, Elisa, whom he has seen several times in the mountains.

Brunone arrives at Pietro's cabin and tells him that the king is dead and that his weak son Guido has taken his place. He explains that this is the time to strike if they want to see Enrico installed on the throne. When Enrico arrives and learns the truth, they give him his father's sword and he decides to accept his fate.

In the castle the new king Guido and his jester Gilberto are planning Guido's marriage with Elisa, but she has just lost her father and is still mourning; she refuses to marry Guido, but he forces her to accept his proposal, and the wedding plans begin.

Scene: Day - at the court in Arles

The jester Gilberto speaking to Guido says that truth and merit are overrated. Guido asks the jester to tell him what the people think of him becoming their king. Gilberto flatters him, but Guido is not satisfied until he learns that some of the people are complaining.

Elisa enters in the company of Guido's bodyguards who invites her to rejoice in the happiness of marriage. Elisha is unhappy. She hope to see Enrico again. When she is left alone with her lady in waiting, Geltrude, she confesses to her of her love. Guido forces Elizabeth to change her mourning clothes into the wedding attire and appeals to her to give in to his great love for her. She replies that he can force her into marriage but her heart will never change.

Scene: Evening – in the square

The wedding procession has gathered in the square. Enrico and Pietro arrive and are unaware of the wedding. Elisa faints. Pietro and Brunone furiously try to stop Enrico's jealousy from revealing himself as her true love. A heavy storm occurs, and Guido is forced to postpone the wedding.

Act 2

Scene: Night - at the castle

Brunone and Pietro reveal to the insurgents that Enrico has returned. Enrico has slipped into the castle to see Elisa for the last time. Enrico meets jester Gilberto who at the last moment hides him from Guido. Gilberto promises to show Enrico to Elisa's room.

Elisa enters. Guido is threatening her with death if she did not keep her promise of marriage. The threat is ineffective because she would rather die than marry Guido. Guido gives the order for the wedding and leaves the room. Gilberto shows Enrico to Elisa's room with the warning that women are in the world to create disorder.

Enrico and Elisa meet. At first, he rejects her declaration that she was forced into marriage with Guido. When he learns about her promise to her father, he understands everything and the two reunite. Guido rushes into the room. At the same time Brunone, Pietro and Nicola entered the castle. The truth about Enrico's birth is revealed to Guido and Elisa. Guido orders the confused guards to arrest the four but the guards put down their weapons and Enrico wins.

Scene: Daybreak - at the castle

Guido is terrified. People storms in and want to take revenge on Guido, but Enrico admonishes his people with a message of peace.

Recordings

Related Research Articles

<i>Lucia di Lammermoor</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian-language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor.

<i>Anna Bolena</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Anna Bolena is a tragic opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Ippolito Pindemonte's Enrico VIII ossia Anna Bolena and Alessandro Pepoli's Anna Bolena, both recounting the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England's King Henry VIII.

<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.

<i>La favorite</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

La Favorite is a grand opera in four acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a French-language libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, based on the play Le comte de Comminges by Baculard d'Arnaud. The opera concerns the romantic struggles of the King of Castile, Alfonso XI, and his mistress, the "favourite" Leonora, against the backdrop of the political wiles of receding Moorish Spain and the life of the Catholic Church. It premiered on December 2, 1840 at the Académie Royale de Musique in Paris, France.

<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".

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>Caterina Cornaro</i> (opera) opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Caterina Cornaro ossia La Regina di Cipro is a tragedia lirica, or opera, in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Giacomo Sacchèro wrote the Italian libretto after Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges' libretto for Halévy's La reine de Chypre (1841). It is based on the life of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus from 1474 to 1489. It premiered at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples on 12 January 1844.

<i>Rosmonda dInghilterra</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Rosmonda d'Inghilterra is a melodramma or opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Felice Romani originally for Coccia's Rosmunda (1829). It is based on the legend of Rosamund Clifford.

Zoraida di Granata is a melodramma eroico, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto had been partly prepared Bartolomeo Merelli, based on the French play, Gonzalve de Cordoue ou Grenade Reconquise by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1791), and on a libretto by Luigi Romanelli to an opera by Nicolini called Abenamet e Zoraide.

<i>Maria de Rudenz</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Maria de Rudenz is a dramma tragico, or tragic opera, in three parts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on "a piece of Gothic horror", La nonne sanglante by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Julien de Mallian, and The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis. It premiered at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, on 30 January 1838.

<i>Maria Padilla</i> opera by Gaetano Donitetti

Maria Padilla is a melodramma, or opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Gaetano Rossi and the composer wrote the Italian libretto after François Ancelot's play. It premiered on 26 December 1841 at La Scala, Milan. The plot is loosely based on the historical figure María de Padilla, the mistress of Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile.

Il castello di Kenilworth is a melodramma serio or tragic opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Andrea Leone Tottola wrote the Italian libretto after Victor Hugo's play Amy Robsart (1828) and Eugene Scribe's play Leicester, both of which following from Scott's novel Kenilworth (1821). Daniel Auber composed another opera on the same subject, Leicester, ou Le chateau de Kenilworth in 1823.

Gianni di Calais is a melodramma semiserio, a "semi-serious" opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1828), from a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni, based on Jean de Paris by Louis-Charles Caigniez.

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.

Elvida is a melodramma or opera in one act by Gaetano Donizetti. Giovanni Schmidt wrote the Italian libretto. The opera was written as a pièce d'occasion for the birthday of Queen Maria of the Two Sicilies. The choice of subject matter was no doubt intended as an elegant acknowledgement of the Queen's Spanish ancestry. Donizetti received little financial reward for the work and, as a result, put the minimum of effort into its composition.

<i>Sancia di Castiglia</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Sancia di Castiglia is an Italian opera seria in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Pietro Salatino. It was first performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, on 4 November 1832 conducted by Nicola Festa.

<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.

<i>Una follia</i> opera

Una follia is a farsa in one act by composer Gaetano Donizetti. The work premiered on 15 December 1818 at the Teatro San Luca in Venice. The opera uses the same Italian-language libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli after August von Kotzebue's Der Graf von Burgund that Donizetti used for his Enrico di Borgogna a month earlier, but with different music. It was given one performance and "never performed again, and its score has never been found."

<i>Il furioso allisola di San Domingo</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo(The Madman on the Island of San Domingo) is a "romantic melodramma" in two acts by the composer Gaetano Donizetti. Jacopo Ferretti, who since 1821 had written five libretti for Donizetti and two for Rossini, had proposed the unusual subject and he was contracted to write the Italian libretto based on a five-act play of the same title by an unknown author in 1820, which "had been given in the same theatre [...] and which Donizetti had immediately loved". However, as has been noted by Charles Osborne, the "ultimate derivation of both play and libretto is an episode in part 1 of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes's published in 1605" which is the story of Cardenio and Lucinda.

Fanny Eckerlin An Italian singer

Fanny Eckerlin (1802–1842) was an Italian mezzo-soprano who also sang contralto roles. During her career she was highly regarded, drawing favorable comparisons to Benedetta Rosmunda Pisaroni, but today she is remembered, if at all, for her association with the early career of Gaetano Donizetti, including creating the title role in his first publicly-performed opera, Enrico di Borgogna.

References

Notes

  1. Osborne 1994, p. 142
  2. Vadstena Academy official website Retrieved 2 February 2012

Cited sources

Other sources