Il Pigmalione

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Il Pigmalione (Pygmalion) is a scena lirica (lyric scene or opera) in one act by Gaetano Donizetti. The librettist is unknown, but it is known that the libretto was based on one by Antonio Simeone Sografi for Giovanni Battista Cimador  (it )'s Pimmalione (1790), in turn based on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Pygmalion [1] and ultimately based on Book X of Ovid's Metamorphoses . [2] Sografi's libretto was also used for an opera by Bonifacio Asioli (1796). [3]

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

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.

Antonio Simeone Sografi, also known as Antonio Simon, or just Antonio, was an Italian librettist and playwright.

Contents

This was Donizetti's first opera, written in six days between 25 September and 1 October 1816 [4] when the composer was 19 [1] and a student at the Bologna Academy, a position acquired for him with the help of his teacher in Bergamo, Johann Simon Mayr [5] and where his "gift for spontaneous composition flowered". [5] It has been noted that although the comedy is "musically slender, the score, nevertheless, reveals the fledgling composer's flair for melody". [6]

Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna organization

The Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna is a music education institution in Bologna, Italy.

It was not performed until 13 October 1960. [1]

Performance history

Etienne Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion and Galatee (1763) Falconet - Pygmalion & Galatee (1763)-black bg.jpg
Étienne Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion and Galatée (1763)

The premiere took place at the XVII Festival delle novità at the Teatro Donizetti in the composer’s home town of Bergamo, Italy, on 13 October 1960. [1] The performance was conducted by Armando Gatto, while the role of Pigmalione was performed by Doro Antonioli and that of Galatea by soprano Oriana Santunione.

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 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.

Other performances appear to have been sporadic: in 1974 under Bruno Rigacci, it was given by the Orchestra della Radiotelivisione della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, [7] and a recording made of a performance in 1990 at the Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi in Terni in Umbria. [8] New York City Opera presented the New York City premiere in March 2018. [9] Chicago Opera Theater presented the Chicago premiere in April 2018, in a double bill with Donizetti's Rita. [10]

Orchestra della Svizzera italiana (OSI) is a symphony orchestra founded in 1935 in Lugano, Switzerland.

Terni Comune in Umbria, Italy

Terni is a city in the southern portion of the region of Umbria in central Italy. The city is the capital of the province of Terni, located in the plain of the Nera river. It is 104 kilometres northeast of Rome.

New York City Opera American opera company based in New York City

The New York City Opera (NYCO) is an American opera company located in Manhattan in New York City. The company has been active from 1943 through 2013, and again since 2016 when it was revived.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere cast, 13 October 1960
(Conductor: Armando Gatto)
Pigmalione, Pygmalion, the King of Crete tenor Doro Antonioli
Galatea, Galathea soprano Oriana Santunione

Synopsis

Time: The classical past
Place: Cyprus [1]

The story of the opera is based on the famous story of a king and sculptor, Pygmalion, originally taken from the tenth book of the Metamorphoses by Ovid. Pigmalione, dismayed that he may never find in real life the ideal of feminine beauty, creates a sculpture of it himself. Having fallen in love with his own creation, Pigmalione's prayer for the sculpture's (christened Galatea) animation is answered by Venus.

A monarch is a sovereign head of state in a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority and power in the state, or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. Typically a monarch either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state's sovereign rights or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation's monarch. Alternatively, an individual may become monarch by conquest, acclamation or a combination of means. A monarch usually reigns for life or until abdication.

Pygmalion is a legendary figure of Cyprus. Though Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton, he is most familiar from Ovid's narrative poem Metamorphoses, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved.

<i>Metamorphoses</i> Narrative poem by Ovid

The Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework.

Recordings

YearCast
(Pigmalione,
Galatea)
Conductor,
opera house and orchestra
Label [7]
1990Paolo Pellegrini
Susanna Rigacci
Fabio Maestri,
Canto Association Chamber Orchestra
(CDs include recordings of Donizetti's Rita , Olimpiade (1817), and La bella prigioniera).
(Live recording, September 1990)
Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GB 2109/10-2

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Osborne 1994, p. 139
  2. Ashbrook & Hibberd 2001, p. 225.
  3. Loewenberg 1970, p. 1828
  4. Weinstock 1963, p. 13
  5. 1 2 Allitt 1991, p. 9
  6. Ashbrook & Hibberd 2001, p. 226
  7. 1 2 Recordings of Il Pigmalione, operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
  8. "Recording details on arkivmusic.com". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  9. Il Pigmalione, New York City Opera

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