Il paria

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Il paria (The Outcast) is an opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni, based on Le Paria by Casimir Delavigne and Michele Carafa's Il paria with a libretto by Gaetano Rossi.

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.

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.


Completed in the winter of 1828, it was first performed on 12 January 1829 at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples. The opera had modest success, with six performances [1] and Donizetti was not satisfied. In a letter to his father he announced his intentions to revise it, [2] but the idea was abandoned.

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.

The scholar William Ashbrook, has called this work "Donizetti's finest achievement up to this point", [3] praising the adhesion of the vocal writing to the dramatic situations and the sense of proportions, stressing in particular the use of a quartet instead of the classic final. According to Ashbrook, the limited luck of Paria is due in large part to the libretto, with its numerous dramatic flaws, and lack of a final decisive dramaturgy.

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.

In music, a quartet or quartette is an ensemble of four singers or instrumental performers; or a musical composition for four voices or instruments.

A finale is the last movement of a sonata, symphony, or concerto; the ending of a piece of non-vocal classical music which has several movements; or, a prolonged final sequence at the end of an act of an opera or work of musical theatre.

Some portions were re-used in other works by Donizetti, including Anna Bolena , La romanziera e l'uomo nero , Torquato Tasso , and Le duc d'Albe , [3] as well as in Il diluvio universale . [4]

<i>Anna Bolena</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

Anna Bolena is a tragic opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Ippolito Pindemonte's Enrico VIII ossia Anna Bolena and Alessandro Pepoli's Anna Bolena, both recounting the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England's King Henry VIII.

<i>La romanziera e luomo nero</i> opera by Gaetano Donizetti

La romanziera e l'uomo nero is an 1831 one-act farsa with music by Gaetano Donizetti and an Italian libretto by Domenico Gilardoni, possibly based on the 1819 play La donna dei romanzi by Augusto Bon. Other suggested sources include L'homme noir (1820) by Eugene Scribe and Jean-Henri Dupin and Le coiffeur et le perruquier (1824) by Scribe, Édouard-Joseph-Ennemond Mazères and Charles Nombret Saint-Laurent.

<i>Torquato Tasso</i> (opera) �

Torquato Tasso is a melodramma semiserio, or 'semi-serious' opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti and based on the life of the great poet Torquato Tasso. The Italian libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, who used a number of sources for his text, including works by Giovanni Rosini, Goethe, Goldoni, and Lord Byron as well as Tasso's actual poetry. It premiered on 9 September 1833 at the Teatro Valle, Rome.


RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 12 January 1829
(Conductor: - )
Neala, Daughter of Akebare soprano Adelaide Tosi
Idamore Warrior leader, a Pariah tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini
Zarete, Idamore's father bass Luigi Lablache
Akebare, Neala's father, Brahmin high priestbass Giovanni Campagnoli
Zaide, Priestess contralto Edvige Ricci
Empsaele, Brahmin, Akebare's confidanttenor Domenico Chizzola
Chorus of priests, priestesses, bayaderes, trumpeters, warriors, people, guardians of the temple, fakirs


Time: "The distant past" [5]
Place: Benares

Act 1

Akebare, high priest of the Brahmins, plans to give his daughter, Neala, in marriage to a valiant warrior. He has already chosen Idamore, the leader of the warriors, who is to return victorious after defeating the Portuguese enemies, even though he hates him for the glory he receives. Neala is in love with Idamore but is unaware of her father's choice, hence she fears for their destiny.

Brahmin is a varna (class) in Hinduism specialising as priests, teachers (acharya) and protectors of sacred learning across generations.

Idamore, who returns the affection of Neala, has a secret: he is a Pariah, a member of a caste mortally hated by the Brahmins because it is considered cursed by the god Brahma, but he succeeded in becoming a warrior concealing his origin.

Paraiyar or Parayar is a caste group found in Sri Lanka and the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They are also known as Adi Dravida, which was a title encouraged by the British Raj as a substitute for Paraiyar because the British believed that their colonising of the country had ended slavery in India.

Caste form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a lifestyle often including occupation, status in a hierarchy, customary social interaction, and exclusion, existing in various regions including South Asia

Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a lifestyle which often includes an occupation, status in a hierarchy, customary social interaction, and exclusion. It is an extreme evolution of a system of legally-entrenched social classes, also endogamous and hereditary, such as that of feudal Europe. Although caste systems exist in various regions, its paradigmatic ethnographic example is the division of Indian society into rigid social groups, with roots in India's ancient history and persisting until today; it is sometimes used as an analogical basis for the study of caste-like social divisions existing outside India. In biology, the term is applied to role stratification in eusocial animals like ants and termites, though the analogy is imperfect as these also involve extremely stratified reproduction.

Brahma Creator god in Hinduism

Brahma is a creator god in Hinduism. He is also known as Svayambhu (self-born) or the creative aspect of Vishnu, Vāgīśa, and the creator of the four Vedas, one from each of his mouths. Brahma is consort of Saraswati and he is the father of Four Kumaras, Narada, Daksha, Marichi and many more.

The father of Idamore, Zarete, has for a long time heard no news from his son, and now arrives incognito, searching. When he gets to talk to his son and learns that Idamore is about to marry the daughter of their mortal enemy, the Brahmins, a fight between the two breaks out. But ultimately Idamore promises his father he will flee with him, asking his permission to say goodbye to Neala first.

Act 2

Idamore, having learned from Akebare that he's the groom chosen for Neala, reveals his origins to Neala. Neala agrees to elope with him after they have celebrated their wedding.

Zarete, upon learning the wedding is taking place, brakes into the temple, demanding equality between Pariahs and Brahmins. He is sentenced to death by Akebare, and Idamore is forced to reveal to everyone that he is the son of a Pariah. Akebare in his fury sentences Idamore to death as well, and Neala begs her father for mercy to no avail. She opts to join them in "a horrible, atrocious death", while Akebare rejoices "Mine is the kingdom! Mine is the empire! I couldn’t yearn for more!", as he can take possession of the empire when Idamore is dead.


(Neala, Idamore, Akebare, Zarete,
Zaide, Empsaele)
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [6]
2001Patrizia Cigna,
Filippo Pina Castiglioni,
Alessandro Verducci,
Marcin Bronikowski,
Nara Montefusco,
Andrea Bragiotto
Marco Berdondini,
Orchestra "Pro Arte" Marche and the Coro Lirico Mezio Agostini
(Recorded live 6–8 April 2001 at Teatro Masini in Faenza, Italy) [7]


Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GB 2300/1-2

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  1. Stanley-Little 2009, p. 72
  2. Verzino, Edward Clement (19 January 1829), "Contribution to a biography of Gaetano Donizetti; letters and unpublished documents": "Ho dato l'opera e fui chiamato fuori, io però dico che ho sbagliato in qualche sito, e lo proverò coll'aggiustarla: mi conosco!" Bergamo: Carnazzi, 1896, p. 50
  3. 1 2 Ashbrook 1982, pp. 309—312
  4. Pardo, Daniel, "Donizetti: Il Diluvio Universale", Opera Today 11 December 2005. Retrieved 23 December 2013
  5. Osborne 1994, p. 183
  6. Recording of Il paria on Retrieved 24 December 2013
  7. Steiger 2008, p. 119 "Il paria" in Opern-Diskographie Retrieved 24 December 2013
  8. Buldrini, Yonel, "Critiques: Donizetti—Il Paria" on, 8 July 2008 (in French). Retrieved 24 December 2013