I pazzi per progetto

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I Pazzi per progetto (Madmen by Design) 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. [1]

Farsa is a genre of opera, associated with Venice in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is also sometimes called farsetta.

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.

Domenico Gilardoni (1798–1831) was an Italian opera librettist, most well known for his collaborations with the composers Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti.

Contents

At the 1830 performance in Naples, some great singers of the time such as Boccabadati and Luigi Lablache performed it in a charity event, but despite the exceptional cast, the audience was really very meager. The work, carried by two women surrounded by five heavy voices, was divided into seven numbers linked by dry ("secco") or accompanied recitatives. It revealed the purest farcical style of the composer, containing the characters and forms typical of that style.

Luigi Lablache Italian opera singer 1794-1858

Luigi Lablache was an Italian opera singer of French and Irish ancestry. He was most noted for his comic performances, possessing a powerful and agile bass voice, a wide range, and adroit acting skills: Leporello in Don Giovanni was one of his signature roles.

It was performed a few more times in Naples and Palermo up until 1845, [1] and then forgotten until 1977.

Performance history

In 1977 a new revision, edited by Maestro Bruno Rigacci of Florence and using the original score which had been preserved at the Conservatorio S. Pietro a Majella in Naples, was presented as part of the Opera Barga Festival. It was a resounding success with the public and the critics.

The Opera Barga Festival is an annual opera festival held in July in the town of Barga, Italy. Founded in 1967 by Peter Hunt and Gillian Armitage together with Peter Gellhorn as musical director and Lorenzo Malfatti, head of didactics. Its performances take place in the late 18th Century theatre, Teatro dei Differenti which seats 289.

Roles

Synopsis

Place: A hospital for the insane in Paris
Time: Early 19th Century

The hospital's director, Darlemont, has a niece, Norina, married to Blinval, a colonel of dragoons. The remoteness of the man from his beloved wife due to military reasons and mutual jealousy are the causes of series of actions when the two meet again. Since the meeting takes place in the hospital which is managed by Norina's uncle, the two alternately pose themselves as crazy to find out the true feelings of each other, causing frantic carousel of deceptions and misunderstandings.

Added to all this is a very babbler and an all-too-sincere servant, (Frank), a deserter trumpeter who pretends to be a doctor (Eustace), a beautiful young girl (Christina), former lover of the colonel, who tries to escape from her old guardian (Venanzio). He in turn tries to make her go mad so that he can take her dowry.

These very well-matched ingredients result in a farce with all its rules. At the well-designed end, peace and moral obligation are restored.

Recordings

YearCast:
Darlemont, Norina, Blinval, Cristina
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [2]
1977Giovanni Fancella,
Anna Baldasserini,
Giovanni Savoiardo,
Vera Pastore
Amy Kaiser,
Orchestra and Chorus of Opera di Barga,
(Recording of a performance in the Teatro di Differenti, Barga, 8 September)
Audio CD: Unique Opera Records
Cat: UORC 357
1988Leonardo Monreale,
Susanna Rigacci,
Graziano Polidori,
Adriana Cicogna
Bruno Rigacci,
Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini",
(Recorded at performances in the Teatro Rossini, Lugo, December)
Audio CD: Bongiovanni,
Cat: GB 2070-2
2000Andrea Porta,
Cinzia Rizzone,
Alessandro Battiato,
Annarita Gemmabella
Fabrizio Maria Carminati,
Orchestra Sinfonica "Gaetano Donizetti" di Bergamo,
(Recorded at performances in the Piazza Cittadella, Bergamo Alta, 22 & 24 August)
Audio CD: Music Media,
Cat: CD 2002

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 Black 1982, pp. 24—25: Black deals specifically with the error and details performances at both houses in 1830 and 1831.
  2. Recordings on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

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.

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