L'ajo nell'imbarazzo

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L'ajo nell'imbarazzo (The Tutor Embarrassed [1] or The Tutor in a Jam [2] ) is a melodramma giocoso, or opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, after the 1807 play by Giovanni Giraud. At its premiere at the Teatro Valle, Rome on 4 February 1824, it "was greeted with wild enthusiasm [and] it was with this opera that [...] Donizetti had his first really lasting success" [1] During revisions planned for the 1826 production in Naples, Donizetti renamed the opera Don Gregorio , and it is under that name that most later productions were staged.

Melodramma is a 17th-century Italian term for a text to be set as an opera, or the opera itself. In the 19th-century, it was used in a much narrower sense by English writers to discuss developments in the early Italian libretto, e.g., Rigoletto and Un ballo in maschera. Characteristic are the influence of French bourgeois drama, female instead of male protagonists, and the practice of opening the action with a chorus.

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.

Contents

Performance history

19th century

Performances were given in many Italian cities and it became the first of the composer's operas to be given outside the country, with productions mounted in Vienna, Dresden, Barcelona, and Rio de Janeiro.

However, before the planned Naples production of 1826, Donizetti revised the opera under the title of Don Gregorio, and under that name, it premiered at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples on 11 June 1826. That same year, it also was given at La Scala. On 28 July 1846 it was first given in London, [3] but "seems to have disappeared from view until it turned up again in Italy in the twentieth century". [1]

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.

La Scala Opera house in Milan, Italy

La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.

20th century and beyond

It was presented at the Teatro Donizetti in the composer's home town of Bergamo in 1959 and an Italian TV production was broadcast in 1964. [4] A successful staging by the Wexford Festival in 1973 led to it appearing in four additional European cities between 1975 and 1990 and a new video recording was made from live performances given by the Teatro Donizetti in November 2007.

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.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere cast, 4 February 1824
(Conductor: – )
Madama Gilda Talemanni, Enrico's wife soprano Maria Ester Mombelli
Old Marquis Giulio baritone Antonio Tamburini
Marquis Enrico, son of Giuliotenor Savino Monelli
Marquis Pippetto, son of Giulio tenor Giovanni Puglieschi
Don Gregorio Cordebonobaritone Nicola Tacci
Leonarda, elderly maid mezzo-soprano Agnese Loyselet
Simone, servant bass Luigi De Dominicis
Servants and waiters of the Marquis

Synopsis

Time: Early nineteenth century
Place: An Italian city

Marquis Giulio demands that his sons, Enrico and Pippetto, grow up in complete ignorance of all matters of the flesh. Yet Enrico has secretly married Gilda, and they even have a son. Exasperated by the life he's forced to lead, the youth begs the elderly tutor Gregorio for help, and has him meet his wife. When, however, the Marquis arrives, Gilda remains trapped in Gregorio's room. She worries, for she must nurse her child: Gregorio is forced to fetch the baby and bring it to her, hidden under his cloak. Leonarda, an old servant in the household, informs the Marquis of her suspicions; he discovers Gilda, but is convinced she must be the tutor's lover. In the tempestuous scene that follows, involving all the characters, the truth finally comes out. The Marquis realizes his error, and decides to entrust his younger son, Pippetto, to Enrico, so that he might help him learn "the ways of the world."

Recordings

YearCast
(Madame Gilda Talemanni,
Il Marchese Enrico,
Il Marchese Giulio Antiquati,
Don Gregorio Cordebono)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [5]
1984Luciana Serra,
Paolo Barbacini,
Alessandro Corbelli,
Enzo Dara
Bruno Campanella,
Teatro Regio di Torino Orchestra and Chorus
Audio CD: Warner Fonit
Cat: 3984 29178-2
2007Elizaveta Martirosyan,
Giorgio Trucco,
Giorgio Valerio,
Paolo Bordogna
Stefano Montanari,
Orchestra and Chorus of the Bergamo Musica Festival Gaetano Donizetti
(Recorded at performances at the Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo, 2–4 November) [6]
DVD: Dynamic
Cat: 33579

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Osborne 1994, p. 156
  2. Ashbrook 1998, in Sadie
  3. Ashbrook 2001, in Holden p. 236
  4. Details of cast and crew on imdb.com
  5. Source for recording information: Recordings of L'ajo nell'imbarazzo (or as Don Gregorio) on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
  6. This is the Naples version performed as Don Gregorio

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.

The New Grove Dictionary of Opera is an encyclopedia of opera, considered to be one of the best general reference sources on the subject. It is the largest work on opera in English, and in its printed form, amounts to 5,448 pages in four volumes.

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.

Other sources

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