Il diluvio universale

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Il diluvio universale (The great flood) 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). [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

19th century

The opera premiered at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples on 6 March [2] It failed to become an instant success.

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.

It is known that for the premiere production to be accepted, it had to be given to the church censors in the form of an oratorio, since its planned production date was within the period of fasting. It was only allowed due to its being a biblical story.

An oratorio is a large musical composition for orchestra, choir, and soloists. Like most operas, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an instrumental ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias. However, opera is musical theatre, while oratorio is strictly a concert piece – though oratorios are sometimes staged as operas, and operas are sometimes presented in concert form. In an oratorio the choir often plays a central role, and there is generally little or no interaction between the characters, and no props or elaborate costumes. A particularly important difference is in the typical subject matter of the text. Opera tends to deal with history and mythology, including age-old devices of romance, deception, and murder, whereas the plot of an oratorio often deals with sacred topics, making it appropriate for performance in the church. Protestant composers took their stories from the Bible, while Catholic composers looked to the lives of saints, as well as to Biblical topics. Oratorios became extremely popular in early 17th-century Italy partly because of the success of opera and the Catholic Church's prohibition of spectacles during Lent. Oratorios became the main choice of music during that period for opera audiences.

Donizetti revised the opera and a new production opened on 17 January 1834 at Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice. [3] But after another staging in 1837 in Paris, it disappeared for 147 years.

Teatro Carlo Felice opera house in Genoa

The Teatro Carlo Felice is the principal opera house of Genoa, Italy, used for performances of opera, ballet, orchestral music, and recitals. It is located on the Piazza De Ferrari.

20th century and beyond

The opera was not presented again until 1985 in Genoa.

The first production in Switzerland took place at St. Gallen where, since 2006, an opera is presented in the open air in front of the Cathedral around the first weekend of July. [4] The production of Il diluvio was also given at the St. Galler Festspiele 2010 when Mirco Palazzi, Majella Cullagh and Manuela Custer appeared. [5]

St. Gallen Place in Switzerland

St. Gallen or traditionally St Gall, in German sometimes Sankt Gallen is a Swiss town and the capital of the canton of St. Gallen. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century. Today, it is a large urban agglomeration and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. Its economy consists mainly of the service sector. Internationally, the town is known as the home of the University of St. Gallen, one of world's leading business schools.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 28 February 1830
(Conductor: - )
Noè bass Luigi Lablache
Jafet baritone Gennaro Ambrosini
Sem tenor Giovanni Arrigotti
Cambass Lorenzo Salvi
Tesbite soprano Fabiani
AsfenesopranoCecilia Grassi
Abra mezzo-soprano Edvige Ricci
CadmotenorBerardo Winter
Sela, Azael's mothersoprano Luigia Boccabadati
Ada, Sela's friendsopranoMaria Carraro
ArtootenorGaetano Chizzola
Azael, childsilent
Chorus

Synopsis

The opera tells the biblical story of the great flood.

Recordings

YearCast
(Noe, Sela, Ada, Cadmo)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [6]
2005Mirco Palazzi,
Bernadette Cullen,
Manuela Custer,
Colin Lee
Giuliano Carella,
London Philharmonic Orchestra and Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
Audio CD: Opera Rara
Cat: ORC 31

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References

Notes

  1. Francesco Ringhieri: Il diluvio. Tragedia. Antonio Zatta e figli, Venice 1788 (Online-Resource).
  2. Black 1982, p. 25: Black notes that 28 February was the intended date, but due to illness, the premiere had to be postponed.
  3. Ashbrook and Hibberd 2001, p. 229
  4. Impressions of the St.Gallen production on art-tv.ch Retrieved 27 January 2013
  5. Pardo, Daniel, Opera Today, 11 December 2005, online at operatoday.com. Retrieved 27 June 2010
  6. Source for recording information: Recording(s) of Il diluvio universale on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Cited sources

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