Il falegname di Livonia

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Il falegname di Livonia, o Pietro il grande, czar delle Russie (The Livonian Carpenter, or Peter the Great, Tsar of the Russias) is an 1819 opera buffa in two acts with music by Gaetano Donizetti set to a libretto by Gherardo Bevilacqua-Aldobrandini. The libretto was based in part on Felice Romani's libretto for Giovanni Pacini's opera Il falegname di Livonia, which had just been presented at La Scala in Milan on 12 April 1819. Another source was Alexandre Duval's comedy Le menuisier de Livonie, ou Les illustres voyageurs (1805). [1]

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.

Libretto text used for an extended musical work

A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.

Contents

Donizetti's Il falegname di Livonia was premiered on 26 December 1819 at the opening of the 1819-1820 Carnival season at the Teatro San Samuele in Venice. It was the fourth of Donizetti’s operas to be performed during his lifetime and the first to achieve "more than one production". [2] It had about seven stagings until 1827, when its last known performance in the 19th century took place.

Carnival of Venice annual festival, held in Venice, Italy

The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter, on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks.

Teatro San Samuele theatre in Venice, Italy

Teatro San Samuele was an opera house and theatre located at the Rio del Duca, between Campo San Samuele and Campo Santo Stefano, in Venice. One of several important theatres built in that city by the Grimani family, the theatre opened in 1656 and operated continuously until a fire destroyed the theatre in 1747. A new structure was built and opened in 1748, but financial difficulties forced the theatre to close and be sold in 1770. The theatre remained active until 1807 when it was shut down by Napoleonic decree. It reopened in 1815 and was later acquired by impresario Giuseppe Camploy in 1819. In 1853 the theatre was renamed the Teatro Camploy. Upon Camploy's death in 1889, the theatre was bequeathed to the City of Verona. The Venice City Council in turn bought the theatre and demolished it in 1894.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

Performance history

The opera was neglected until 2003 when it was given a performance in St Petersburg, thanks to the artistic director of the St Petersburg Chamber Opera, Yuri Alexandrov, who spent three years in search of the score for the opera, which, so it appeared, had been lost forever. The painstaking work yielded results: the score was restored fragment by fragment. The Russian premiere took place on 27 May 2003 at the St Petersburg Chamber Opera, with staging by Yuri Alexandrov and the Russian and Italian versions of the libretto by Yuri Dimitrin.

In 2004, the opera was presented by the Festival della Valle d'Itria in Martina Franca. Those performances were recorded.

The Festival della Valle d’Itria is a summer opera festival held in the south eastern Italian town of Martina Franca in the Apulia region. The Festival was founded in 1975 and performances are given in July and August each summer on a specially constructed stage in the outdoor courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale.

Martina Franca Comune in Apulia, Italy

Martina Franca, or just Martina, is a town and municipality in the province of Taranto, Apulia, southern Italy. It is the second most populated town of the province after Taranto, and has a population (2016) of 49,086. Since 1975, the town has hosted the annual summer opera festival, the Festival della Valle d'Itria.

Roles

Portrait of Peter the Great by Paul Delaroche Peter der-Grosse 1838.jpg
Portrait of Peter the Great by Paul Delaroche
RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 26 December 1819
(Conductor: - )
Pietro il Grande (Peter the Great) bass Pio Botticelli
Caterina (Catherine I of Russia, his wife) soprano Adelaide Raffi
Madama Fritz, innkeeper mezzo-soprano Caterina Amati
Annetta Mazepa, innkeepersoprano Angela Bertozzi
Carlo Scavronski, carpenter of Livonia tenor Giovanni Battista Verger
Ser Cuccupis, magistratebassLuigi Martinelli
Firman Trombest, in the role of the usurerbass Giuseppe Guglielmini
Hondediski, muscovite captainbaritone Gaetano Rambaldi
Mayors, couriers, followers of the Czar

Synopsis

Ekaterina I, Empress and Autocrat of all the Russias, originally named Marta Skavronska Catherine I of Russia 0459.jpg
Ekaterina I, Empress and Autocrat of all the Russias, originally named Marta Skavronska
Time: Late 17th century
Place: The Baltic State of Livonia (now Latvia and Estonia) [3] in an unnamed town under Russian rule.

Act 1

Carlo, a carpenter, is in love with the orphan Annetta. He claims to be of noble origin and shows that he has a bit of a temper when the tsar and his wife, Catherine, arrive, both travelling incognito. They are looking for the tsarina’s lost brother, and have reason to suspect that it might be Carlo. The tsar asks the hotelier, Madame Fritz, about this carpenter. When Carlo enters, he does not know who the strangers are and he is rather insolent. An argument ensues, with Peter threatening Carlo with dire consequences. The town magistrate, Ser Cuccupis, also gets into an argument with Peter. This magistrate has pretensions of grandeur and goes so far as to threaten him with his friend, the tsar. Peter decides to pull rank on the magistrate, and tells him that he is Menshikov, a high officer of the tsar. The magistrate has Carlo imprisoned, and he is about to be convicted when Madame Fritz runs in with some documents proving that he is Catherine’s brother.

Act 2

When Carlo becomes aware that he is the tsar's brother-in-law, he introduces Annetta to the imperial couple. Again, not knowing the true identity of the couple, he warns them that the tsar must never see her because she is the daughter of the traitor hetman Ivan Mazepa. When told that Mazepa is dead, the false Menshikov pardons the girl. Then the captain of the troops tells the magistrate that Menshikov is actually the tsar. Hoping that this would be an opportunity to advance himself, the magistrate tries to intervene, but since the tsar has already recognized him for what he is, he is fired from his position of authority and is ordered to pay a fine. Peter, Catherine, Carlo and Annetta leave happily for St Petersburg.

Hetman

Hetman is a political title from Central and Eastern Europe, historically assigned to military commanders.

Ivan Mazepa Hetman of Ukrainian Cossacks

Ivan Stepanovych Mazepa served as the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host in 1687–1708. It is claimed that he was awarded a title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1707 for his efforts for the Holy League.

Recordings

YearCast:
(Pietro il Grande,
Caterina,
Madame Fritz,
Annetta, Carlo)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [4]
2004Vito Priante
Eufemia Tafuro,
Rosa Anna Peraino,
Rosa Sorice,
Alessandro Codeluppi
Marco Berdondini,
Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia and the Coro da Camera di Bratislava
(Recorded at performances in the Atrio di Palazzo Ducale, Martina Franca as part of the Festival della Valle d'Itria. There were performances on 27, 28 July) [5]
Audio CD: Dynamic
Cat: CDS 473-1/2

Note: The Act 2 sextet is included in A Hundred Years of Italian Opera, 1810-1820 (Opera Rara; Cat: ORCH103).

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References

Notes

  1. Osborne 1994, pp. 143–144; Ashbrook 1982, p. 534; Ashbrook 1992, p. 1215; Ashbrook, Black, and Budden 1998.
  2. Osborne 1994, p. 144.
  3. Osborne 1994, p. 143.
  4. Recording on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
  5. Title on Dynamic CDS 473-1/2: Pietro il Grande Kzar delle Russie o sia il falegname di Livonia. OCLC   611387578 , 488608063 , 638077254.

Cited sources

Other sources