La lettera anonima

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La lettera anonima (The anonymous letter) is a farce in one act composed by Gaetano Donizetti in 1822 to a libretto by Giulio Genoino, a former monk and the official censor of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Genoino based his libretto on his own farce [1] which, in turn, had been based on Mélite, ou Les fausses lettres by Pierre Corneille in 1630.

Farce Comedy genre

In theatre, a farce is a comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable. Farce is also characterized by physical humor, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances. It is also often set in one particular location, where all events occur. Farces have been written for the stage and film.

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

With a letter of recommendation from his teacher Johann Simon Mayr, Donizetti was in Naples and, on 12 May 1822, came to an agreement to write the opera with the impresario Domenico Barbaja, for whom he had already produced La zingara (The Gypsy Girl). Six weeks later he presented the new farce to the public, the premiere taking place on 29 June 1822.

An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas, performing a role similar to that of an artist manager or a film or television producer.

<i>La zingara</i> opera

La zingara is an opera semiseria in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola after La petite bohémienne by Louis-Charles Caigniez, which was itself derived from a work of August von Kotzebue.

Overall, the opera appears to have been well received and given twenty performances, although according to Donizetti, "it was half-ruined by a novice singer (Cecconi)". [1] However, as has been noted, "the score contains an attractive speciality number for the dancing master, Flageolet, and an extended quartet, 'Stelle che intesti', the one number of the work to be praised by critics after the premiere" [2] because it avoided "those caballetas and that symmetrical repetition of motifs which obliges all the performers to repeat the same musical phrases no matter what the different emotions may agitate them". [3]

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere cast, [1]
29 June 1822 [2]
(Conductor: – )
Countess Rosina soprano Flora Fabbri
Captain Filinto, her lover tenor Giovanni Battista
Melita, Rosina's tenantsopranoTeresa Cecconi
Lauretta, Rosina's maidsopranoRaffaela de Bernardis
Don Macario, Rosina's Uncle baritone De Franchi
Giliberto, Don Macario's Housekeeper bass Giovanni Pace
Flagiolet, A Dancing TeacherbaritoneCalvarola
Chorus: Servants and Room-attendants

Synopsis

Place: France
Time: 17th century [1]

Countess Rosina and Captain Filinto are going to get married. An anonymous letter claiming that the Captain is already married to another arrives on the wedding day. This letter is finally found to be false, and the preparations for the wedding party continue.

Recordings

YearCast:
Countess Rosina,
Filinto,
Melita,
Lauretta,
Don Macario
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [4]
1972Benedetta Pecchioli,
Pietro Bottazzo,
Rosa Laghezza,
Carla Virgili,
Rolando Panerai
Franco Caracciolo,
Orchestra Scarlatti di Napoli and the Amici della Polifonia Chorus
CD: On Stage
Cat: 4702

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 Osborne 1994, pp. 149–50
  2. 1 2 Ashbrook and Hibberd 2001, p. 226
  3. The critic of the Giornale del Regno delle Due Sicilie quoted in Osborne 1994, p. 149
  4. "Recordings on". Operadis-opera-discography.org.uk. Retrieved 24 August 2012.

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.

Amanda Juliet Holden is a British musician, librettist and translator.

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

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.

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.