Gianni di Parigi

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Gianni di Parigi is an 1839 melodramma comico ( opera buffa ) 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. [1] [2] [3] [4]

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 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.

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.


It is derived from Jean de Paris, an 1812 opera by François-Adrien Boïeldieu with a libretto by Claude Godard d'Aucourt de Saint-Just, which had been performed in Naples in 1816. [5]

Claude Godard dAucourt de Saint-Just French librettist

Claude Godard d'Aucourt called de Saint-Just was a French librettist.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

Composition history

According to Charles Osborne, the research of Swedish musicologist Anders Wiklund suggests that Donizetti may have begun composing the music for the opera between 1828 and 1830 for a projected performance in Naples which did not occur. It is established with certainty that Donizetti completed the score in 1831, intending it as a vehicle for the popular tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini, who had created the role of Percy in Donizetti's Anna Bolena on 26 December 1830, and to whom Donizetti presented the completed score in 1831. Apparently Rubini did not seriously promote it with opera managements, but somehow it was acquired by Bartolomeo Merelli, who became impresario of La Scala in 1836 and despite the protests of Donizetti produced it there in 1839. [5]

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.

Giovanni Battista Rubini Italian opera singer

Giovanni Battista Rubini was an Italian tenor, as famous in his time as Enrico Caruso in a later day. His ringing and expressive coloratura dexterity in the highest register of his voice, the tenorino, inspired the writing of operatic roles which today are almost impossible to cast. As a singer Rubini was the major early exponent of the Romantic style of the bel canto era of Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti.

<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.

Jeremy Commons, however, points out that Wiklund discovered that in Donizetti's autograph score in the Naples Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella the overture is clearly dated 1828. Commons notes that the opera's style fits better with florid operas of the 1820s such as Gianni di Calais than with the more romantic 1830s operas such as L'elisir d'amore , and Wiklund suggests that Neapolitan elements in the opera indicate that it was composed in Naples where Donizetti was active in the 1820s. A further score of 1832, with some revisions by the composer (including the omission of the Neapolitan elements), is located in the Casa Ricordi archives in Milan. This may be the score which Donizetti presented to Rubini, who presumably passed it through the hands of Giovanni Ricordi to Merelli. [6]

Jeremy Paul Axford Commons is a New Zealand opera historian, scholar, impresario and librettist. He is an authority on nineteenth-century Italian opera and has published major works on the composers Gaetano Donizetti and Nicola Vaccaj.

The Naples Conservatory of Music is a music school located in Naples, Italy. It is situated in the complex of San Pietro a Majella.

<i>Gianni di Calais</i> opera

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.

The sparkling overture includes a theme which is quite similar to that of Don Profondo's aria Medaglie Incomparabili from Il viaggio a Reims by Rossini.

<i>Il viaggio a Reims</i> opera by Gioachino Rossini

Il viaggio a Reims, ossia L'albergo del giglio d'oro is an operatic dramma giocoso, originally performed in three acts, by Gioachino Rossini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Balocchi, based in part on Corinne, ou L'Italie by Mme de Staël.

Performance history

The opera premiered on 10 September 1839 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where it received twelve performances. There were seventeen further performances in 1845 at the Teatro Regio (Turin) and ten in 1846 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, [7] but it was not staged subsequently until December 1985 in New York by the Vineyard Opera Shop, in a much reduced arrangement for piano, flute, clarinet and bassoon. It was revived by the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo in 1988 and 1991. [5] A new production in 2010 at the Festival della Valle d'Itria at Martina Franca was revived by Wexford Festival Opera in October 2011.

Teatro Regio (Turin) theater in Turin, Italy

The Teatro Regio is a prominent opera house and opera company in Turin, Piedmont, Italy. Its season runs from October to June with the presentation of eight or nine operas given from five to twelve performances of each.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and in the U.S. state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

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 about 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.


RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 10 September 1839
(Conductor: - )
The Princess of Navarre soprano Antonietta Marini-Rainieri
Il Gran Siniscalco, her seneschal bass Ignazio Marini
Gianni di Parigi, the disguised Dauphin of France tenor Lorenzo Salvi
Pedrigo, an inn-keeperbass Agostino Rovere
Lorezza, his daughter mezzo-soprano Marietta Sacchi
Oliviero, Gianni's page contralto Felicita Baillou-Hillaret
Followers of the Princess and of Gianni, waiters


Place: Provence.
Time: 14th century

Pedrigo, an innkeeper from Provence, is preparing his inn for the arrival of the Princess of Navarre who ordered her lunch and lodging in advance, but before her arrival comes a rich citizen from Paris, Gianni, who pays him as twice as much and gets hold of the place. To everyone's surprise, when the princess arrives she accepts the situation with good humor - and that's because she recognizes Gianni as King Philip de Valois's son. Finally both princess and prince (after taking off his disguise) fall in love and are prepared to get married.


(La Principessa di Navarra,
Il Gran Siniscalco,
Gianni di Parigi, Pedrigo)
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [8]
1988 Luciana Serra,
Angelo Romero,
Giuseppe Morino,
Enrico Fissore
Carlo Cillario,
Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
(Recorded at performances at the Bergamo Festival, 18, 20, 22, 25 September)
Audio CD: Nuovo Era
Cat: 6752-6753
2010Ekaterina Lekhina,
Roberto de Candia,
Edgardo Rocha,
,Andrea Porta
Giacomo Sagripanti,
orchestra and Slovakian Choir of Bratislava
DVD: Bongiovanni,
Cat: AB 20025


An autograph of the score is held at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella in Naples. Since neither of the first two productions were supervised by Donizetti, it reflects changes made by other hands, which are evident from the differences in the two librettos and the presence of considerable non-autograph materials in the Naples score. [9] There is also a score in the Ricordi Archives in Milan with significant autograph additions not found in the one in Naples. [10]

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  1. Ashbrook 1982, pp. 321–322, 550–551.
  2. The libretto for Morlacchi's opera was published in Milan by Giacomo Pirola with the title Gianni di Parigi: melodramma comico (OCLC   40787703); Ricordi published a piano reduction by Pietro Tonassi of Donizetti's score ca. 1901 under the title Gianni di Parigi: melodramma comico de Felice Romani, posto in musica da Gaetano Donizetti (OCLC   82723197).
  3. Ashbrook 1982, p. 321. He calls it an "opera comica" and in note 6 on pp. 683–684, says: "The work is structurally an opera buffa; 'opera comica' is presumably Romani's direct translation of 'opéra comique', the designation of Boieldieu's work on which Romani based his libretto."
  4. Casaglia, Gherardo (2005).["Gianni di Parigi"]. L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  5. 1 2 3 Osborne 1994, pp. 198–199.
  6. Commons 2011, pp. 50-51.
  7. Commons 2011 p.52.
  8. Source for recording information: Recording(s) of Gianni di Parigi on; see also listings at WorldCat.
  9. Ashbrook 1982, pp. 322, 551; digital copies of the Naples score are available at IMSLP.
  10. Ashbrook 1982, pp. 551, 684 note 8.

Cited sources

Other sources