Il campanello

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Il campanello or Il campanello di notte (The Night Bell) 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". [1]

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.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Contents

Performance history

The opera was presented in Italian at the Lyceum Theatre in London on 6 June 1836 and in English on 9 March 1841. It was also given in English in 1870. It was first performed in Italian in the US in Philadelphia on 25 October 1861; this production went on to New York three days later. An English translation was seen in that city on 7 May 1917. [2]

Among other performances, the work was staged by Teatro Regio di Torino in 1995 [3] and by the Donizetti festival, Bergamo in 2010. [4]

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.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 1 June 1836
(Conductor: - )
Serafina, a young bride soprano Amalia Schütz Oldosi
Don Annibale Pistacchio, an apothecary, her husband bass Raffaele Casaccia
Spiridione, Don Annibale's servant tenor Domenico Ronconi
Madama Rosa, Serafina's aunt mezzo-soprano
Enrico, Serafina's cousin baritone Giorgio Ronconi

Synopsis

Time: Early 19th century
Place: Naples [5]

At the lavish home of Annibale Pistacchio, guests have gathered to celebrate the marriage of the famous doctor to his young bride, Serafina. Among the guests is Enrico, Serafina’s scheming cousin and former romantic interest who is determined to win Serafina back. After failing in his direct plea to Serafina, Enrico placates the groom with a rousing toast before leaving.

Just as Annibale is preparing for his wedding night with Serafina, the doorbell rings, revealing Enrico disguised as a patient in need of medicine. He delays the doctor’s first night in his marriage bed by telling long stories and messing with the apartment. While Annibale is distracted, Enrico leaves a threatening message in Serafina’s door. He then leaves only to return soon after as a singer with a hoarse voice. As Annibale’s frustration grows, Enrico continues to find absurd reasons to delay the doctor’s sleep. He departs and returns once more, this time as a blind man demanding a complex medicine for his sick “wife.” Annibale tries to usher him out and return to Serafina, but it is too late. Dawn has arrived, and he must leave to oversee his aunt’s will in Rome. Serafina ushers him out the door, and Enrico joins the guests in reminding Annibale that the pleasures of his wedding night will follow him for the rest of his life. Everyone bids Annibale goodbye.

Recordings

YearCast:
Serafina, Enrico,
Don Annibale, Madame Rosa
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [6]
1983 Agnes Baltsa,
Angelo Romero,
Enzo Dara,
Biancamaria Casoni
Gary Bertini,
Orchestra of the Wiener Symphoniker and the Wiener Staatsoper Chorus
Audio CD: CBS,
MK 38450
1995Anna Rita Taliento,
Leo Nucci,
Enzo Dara,
Cinzia De Mola
Fabrizio Maria Carminati,
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Regio di Torino,
(Recorded at performances in the Teatro Regio, Turin, May)
Audio CD: BMG Ricordi,
Cat: 74321 35613-2,
Ricordi,
Cat: RFCD 2024.1
1996Madeline Bender,
Shon Sims,
Samuel Hepler,
Barbara Kokolus
Christopher Larkin,
Orchestra and Chorus of the Manhattan School of Music,
(Recording of a performance at the Manhattan School of Music, April)
Audio CD: Newport Classic,
Cat: NPD 85608

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References

Notes

  1. Black 1982, pp. 35—36
  2. Weinstock 1963, p. 351 refers to UK and US productions
  3. "Il campanello". donizetti.org. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. "Bergamo Musica Festival". gbopera.it. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. Osborne 1994, p. 248
  6. Recordings on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Cited sources

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.

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

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.

Stanley John Sadie was an influential and prolific British musicologist, music critic, and editor. He was editor of the sixth edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), which was published as the first edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.