Gemma di Vergy

Last updated

Gemma di Vergy is an 1834 tragedia lirica (tragic opera) in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Giovanni Emanuele Bidera. It is based on the tragedy Charles VII chez ses grands vassaux(Charles VII and His Chief Vassals) (1831) by Alexandre Dumas père, [1] which was later to become the subject of the opera The Saracen by the Russian composer César Cui.

Contents

The heroine is the childless wife of the Count of Vergy, and the plot deals with her jealousy and grief as her husband arranges an annulment of their marriage in preparation for the arrival of his new bride, Ida, and her despair following the murder of her husband by a slave, Tamas, who is secretly in love with her.

Gemma di Vergy was first performed on 26 December 1834 at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan. The leading role was taken by the Italian soprano Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis, Donizetti's favourite prima donna at the time, [2] for whom he had previously composed Fausta (1832 ), and for whom he was later to compose Roberto Devereux (1837).

Performance history

The opera remained very popular in Italy until at least the 1860s. [2] It was not performed at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples until 4 March 1837, but it remained popular there and appeared every year until 1848. [3] Productions were also staged in London on 12 March 1842, Paris, New York City on 2 October 1843, Lisbon, St. Petersburg, Vienna and Barcelona. While initially popular, it had disappeared from the repertoire by about 1900, [1] although before its 20th-century revivals, it was staged in Empoli in 1901.

Gemma di Vergy was revived for the soprano Montserrat Caballé in a production at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples in December 1975. Subsequently, the same soprano performed the work in concert in several other cities. A number of live recordings exist of the Caballé performances from Naples, Paris and New York.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 26 December 1834
(Conductor: - Eugenio Cavallini)
Earl of Vergy baritone Giovanni Orazio Cartagenova
Gemma soprano Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis
Ida di Greville mezzo-soprano Felicita Baillou-Hillaret
Tamas tenor Domenico Reina
Guido bass Ignazio Marini
Rolandobass Domenico Spiaggi
Knights, archers, soldiers, bridesmaids

Recordings

YearCast
(Gemma, Ida, Tamas, Conte di Vergy)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [4]
1975 Montserrat Caballé,
Biancamaria Casoni,
Giorgio Lamberti,
Renato Bruson
Armando Gatto
Teatro San Carlo,
Naples Orchestra and Chorus
Audio CD: Opera d'Oro
Cat: OPD 1379
1976 Montserrat Caballé,
Natalya Chudy,
Luis Lima,
Louis Quilico,
Paul Plishka (Guido)
Eve Queler,
New York Opera Orchestra,
Schola Cantorum (New York)
Audio LP: Columbia,
(first issue on CD Sony 2017) [5]
1987Adriana Maliponte,
Nucci Condò,
Ottavio Garaventa,
Luigi De Corato
Gert Meditz
Teatro Gaetano Donizetti,
RAI Milano Orchestra and Chorus
DVD: House of Opera
Cat: DVDCC 601

Related Research Articles

<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>Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali, also known as Viva la mamma, is a dramma giocoso, or opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Domenico Gilardoni, adapted from Antonio Simeone Sografi's plays Le convenienze teatrali (1794) and Le inconvenienze teatrali (1800).

Alahor in Granata is an opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to an anonymous Italian libretto after Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian's text Gonzalve de Cordoue, ou Granade reconquise (1793). However, it seems that the original basis of the libretto goes back to one by Felice Romani written for Meyerbeer in 1821, which in turn can be traced back through another iteration to begin with the de Florian version.

<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.

Olivo e Pasquale is a melodramma giocoso, a romantic comedy opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Jacopo Ferretti wrote the Italian libretto after Antonio Simeone Sografi's play.

Emilia di Liverpool is a dramma semiserio, ("half-serious") dramatic opera, in two acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti. Giuseppe Checcherini wrote the Italian libretto after the anonymous libretto for Vittorio Trento's Emilia di Laverpaut, itself based on Stefano Scatizzi's play of the same name. It premiered on 28 July 1824 at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples.

Il diluvio universale is an azione tragico-sacra, or opera, by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Domenico Gilardoni after Lord Byron's Heaven and Earth and Francesco Ringhieri's tragedy Il diluvio (1788).

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>Marino Faliero</i> (opera) opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Marino Faliero is a tragedia lirica, or tragic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Giovanni Emanuele Bidera wrote the Italian libretto, with revisions by Agostino Ruffini, after Casimir Delavigne's play. It is inspired by Lord Byron's drama Marino Faliero (1820) and based on the life of Marino Faliero (c.1285-1355), the Venetian Doge.

Torquato Tasso is a melodramma semiserio, or 'semi-serious' opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti and based on the life of the great poet Torquato Tasso. The Italian libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, who used a number of sources for his text, including works by Giovanni Rosini, Goethe, Goldoni, and Lord Byron as well as Tasso's actual poetry. It premiered on 9 September 1833 at the Teatro Valle, Rome.

Gabriella di Vergy is an opera seria in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti written in 1826 and revised in 1838, from a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola, which was based on the tragedy Gabrielle de Vergy (1777) by Dormont De Belloy. Prior to that, the play was itself inspired by two French medieval legends, Le châtelain de Coucy et la dame de Fayel and Le Roman de la chastelaine de Vergy.

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.

Imelda de' Lambertazzi is a melodramma tragico or tragic opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola, based on the tragedy Imelda by Gabriele Sperduti. It received its first performance on 5 September 1830 at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples.

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.

Alfredo il grande 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.

<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 Pazzi per progetto is a farsa in one act by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni. The first performance took place at the Teatro di San Carlo on 6 February 1830 and was followed by its second presentation on 7 February at the Teatro del Fondo.

References

Notes

  1. 1 2 Ashbrook & Hibberd 2001, p. 236.
  2. 1 2 Ashbrook 1982, p. 373
  3. Black 1982, p. 33
  4. Source for recording information: operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
  5. BBC Music Magazine March 2018 "An uneven opera with wonderful passages, and perhaps Montserrat Caballé’s finest recording, with stunning singing from the underrated Argentine tenor Luis Lima, and excellent supporting cast."

Cited sources

Other sources