|Linda di Chamounix|
|melodramma semiserio by Gaetano Donizetti|
Eugenia Tadolini, the first singer of the title role, portrait by Josef Kriehuber
|Premiere||18 May 1842|
Linda di Chamounix is an operatic melodramma semiserio in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Gaetano Rossi. It premiered in Vienna, at the Kärntnertortheater, on 19 May 1842.
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.
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.
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.
Linda di Chamounix was first presented in the UK on 1 June 1843, with its New York premiere following on 4 January 1847 at Palmo's Opera House.
Palmo's Opera House was a 19th-century theatre in Manhattan, New York that was located on Chambers Street between Broadway and Centre Street. It was one of the earliest opera houses in New York before it was converted into one of the earliest Broadway theatres. The theatre was conceived by Ferdinand Palmo, an Italian immigrant and successful restaurateur in New York City. It was located inside the former Stoppani's Arcade Baths building. Modest alteration to the building was done in 1843 to convert the building into a theater.
On 1 March 1934, the opera received its Metropolitan Opera premiere with Lily Pons in the title role. Through 25 March 1935, the Met presented the opera in seven more performances, all starring Pons. It has not been performed there since.
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Alice Joséphine Pons, known professionally as Lily Pons, was a French-American operatic soprano and actress who had an active career from the late 1920s through the early 1970s. As an opera singer she specialized in the coloratura soprano repertoire and was particularly associated with the title roles in Lakmé and Lucia di Lammermoor. In addition to appearing as a guest artist with many opera houses internationally, Pons enjoyed a long association with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, where she performed nearly 300 times between 1931 and 1960.
The Teatro alla Scala produced the opera in March 1972 conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni with Margherita Rinaldi as Linda, Alfredo Kraus as Carlo and Renato Bruson as Antonio. The production was recorded on 17 March. It was given in Geneva in 1975 with the same three cast members and also recorded, as was the performance at the 1983 Wexford Opera Festival.
Gianandrea Gavazzeni was an Italian pianist, conductor, composer and musicologist.
Margherita Rinaldi is an Italian lyric soprano, primarily active in the 1960s and 1970s.
Alfredo Kraus Trujillo was a distinguished Spanish tenor from the Canary islands, particularly known for the artistry he brought to opera's bel canto roles. He was also considered an outstanding interpreter of the title role in Massenet's opera Werther, and especially of its famous aria, "Pourquoi me réveiller?"
The 1990s began to see a variety of performances given in several countries, most of which were in concert form. These included two, which were both recorded, which appeared in Stockholm (in September) and in New York (in December) in 1993, the latter presented by the Opera Orchestra of New York with Paul Plishka as Il Prefetto. Another was given on 3 November 1997 at London's Royal Festival Hall under Mark Elder.
The Opera Orchestra of New York specializes in the performance of opera in concert form. It is particularly known for its work in presenting rarely performed repertory. Among the numerous American premieres it has presented are Puccini’s Edgar, Boito’s Nerone, and Smetana’s Libuše.
The Royal Festival Hall is a 2,900-seat concert, dance and talks venue within Southbank Centre in London. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, not far from Hungerford Bridge, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is a Grade I listed building, the first post-war building to become so protected. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are resident in the hall.
Sir Mark Philip Elder is a British conductor. He is the music director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, England.
In addition, recordings of live stage performances have begun to appear. A DVD was made of a performance in 1996 given by the Zurich Opera with Edita Gruberova as Linda, while Gruberova reprised the role in a La Scala production in April 1998, with Antonio sung by Anthony Michaels-Moore.
Oper Zürich is a Swiss opera company based in Zurich. The company gives performances in the Opernhaus Zürich.
Anthony Michaels-Moore is an English operatic baritone and the first British winner of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. Anthony has since performed in many of the world's major opera houses across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He has distinguished himself as a specialist in Verdi and Puccini roles, most renowned for his portrayals of Falstaff, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Iago in Otello, Germont in La traviata, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Scarpia in Tosca. In addition to the standard repertoire, he has sung and recorded the baritone roles of some of the less-known 19th Century Italian operas, as well as the popular English art song cycles by Stanford and Vaughan Williams.
Among other performances, the opera was staged by Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, in 2011 with Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 19 May 1842|
(Conductor: Gaetano Donizetti)
|Carlo, Vicomte de Sirval||tenor||Napoleone Moriani|
|Pierotto, an orphan||contralto||Marietta Brambilla|
|Antonio, Linda's father||baritone||Felice Varesi|
|Marquis de Boisfleury||basso buffo or baritone||Agostino Rovere|
|Prefect||basso profondo||Prosper Dérivis|
|Maddalena, Linda's mother||soprano||Maddalena Nottes|
|Savoyards of the 1760s, children|
The village square in Chamounix, Savoy, France .
It is dawn, and the villagers are singing on their way to church, for this is the day the young men go to Paris for the winter, to earn money as street entertainers.
Maddalena Loustolot awaits the return of her husband Antonio from a visit to the Marchesa, who owns their farm. Antonio has been anxious that their lease on the farm be renewed, and that the mortgage — held by the Marchesa — not be called in. Antonio arrives, relieved at having been assured that the Marchesa's brother, the Marchese (Marquis of Boisfleury) will speak on their behalf. The Marchese duly arrives, greeted enthusiastically by the villagers. He asks to see Linda, the Loustolot's beautiful daughter, but she is not there. Her parents assume that she has gone early to church.
The Marchese promises Antonio and Maddalena that he will renew- the lease and improve the buildings and farmland. There is, however, a hidden agenda: he has designs on Linda, who is the god-daughter of his sister the Marchesa, and he says that she must come to the castle, where "she may complete her education".
They leave, and Linda enters. She has not been to church, but rather to keep a rendezvous with her beloved Carlo, an impoverished artist; but she arrived too late and found only some flowers from him ("O luce di quest'anima"). Some girls arrive, followed by Pierotto, who sings his latest song while playing his hurdy-gurdy.
Pierotto's song is about a young girl who leaves home for a better life, but forgets her vows to her mother, falls in love, and then is betrayed. She returns home to find her mother dead, and spends the rest of her life weeping on her mother's grave.
Pierotto and the girls leave; then Carlo arrives, and meets Linda. They express their regret at missing each other earlier, and reaffirm their love. They leave, and the Prefect arrives to see Antonio. But instead of reassuring him of the Marchese's support, he warns Antonio that the Marchese has evil intentions towards his beloved daughter. The Prefect persuades Antonio that Linda must go to Paris with the men of the village, and stay there out of danger, with the Prefect's brother. The village gathers to say farewell to those who are leaving.
Three months later in Paris
Linda has been followed by Carlo, who has revealed that he is not after all a penniless painter, but the young Viscount of Sirval, son of the Marchesa, and nephew of the Marchese. He has provided for her an apartment in a fashionable quarter, where she now lives until their marriage. Carlo visits her daily. Linda has sent money to her parents, but has not heard from them. She hears familiar music from the street below. It is Pierotto, whom she invites in, and who explains that on arrival in Paris he was taken ill and afterwards was unable to find Linda. He expresses surprise at the luxury of her accommodation, and Linda explains about Carlo, and that their relationship is respectable. Pierotto says that he has seen the Marchese in the street below. After he leaves, the Marchese arrives and tries to persuade Linda to come and live with him. Outraged, Linda orders him out of her house. Carlo arrives having heard the terrible news that his mother has discovered his relationship, and insists that he instead marry a young titled girl immediately. He cannot, however, bring himself to tell Linda, and instead reaffirms his love for her "whatever may happen" before departing again.
Now an old man comes to the door, asking for help. It is Antonio, and he does not recognise this grand young lady as his daughter. When Linda reveals her identity, he is devastated, believing her to be living a life of sin. She tries to reassure him, but when Pierotto comes back to tell Linda that he has discovered that Carlo is to be married to another that very day, Antonio flies into a rage and disowns his daughter. At the thought of her betrayal by Carlo, Linda collapses, losing her mind.
Spring again in Chamounix
The villagers welcome the young men returning from Paris at winter's end. Carlo arrives and explains to the Prefect that his mother has relented and that he can after all marry Linda, whom he now seeks. The Prefect says that Linda was betrayed by a lover in Paris, has not returned, and cannot be found. Carlo is broken-hearted, telling the Prefect that he was her (entirely innocent) lover.
The Marchese arrives and tells the villagers that there is to be a wedding, and that all the villagers will be invited to the celebrations. "Just wait 'till you see who the bride is!" he says, not knowing of Linda's illness.
Pierotto now arrives, with Linda; they have travelled the 600 miles from Paris, and are exhausted. Carlo sees her, and is distraught by her condition. She recognises nobody. But Pierotto sings to her, his song stirs her, and at last she seems to know her mother. Carlo sings to her of his undying love, and when he sings the words they shared when they first met, Linda's reason is restored. The whole village rejoices in anticipation of the wedding.
Opera House and Orchestra
|1953|| Margherita Carosio,|
RAI Milano Orchestra and Chorus
|Audio CD: Walhall «Eternity Series»|
Cat: WLCD 0128
|1956|| Antonietta Stella,|
| Tullio Serafin |
Teatro San Carlo Orchestra and Chorus
|Audio CD: Philips|
Cat: 442 093-2
|1972|| Margherita Rinaldi,|
| Gianandrea Gavazzeni |
Teatro alla Scala Orchestra and Chorus,
(Recording of a performance at La Scala, 16 March)
|Audio CD: Opera d'Oro|
Cat: OPD 1269
|1991|| Mariella Devia,|
Donato di Stefano,
Orchestra of Eastern Netherlands and Netherlands State Opera Chorus
|Audio CD: Arts|
|1993|| Edita Gruberova,|
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mikaeli Chamber Choir,
(Recording of a concert performance in the Berwald Hall, Stockholm, September)
|Audio CD: Nightingale Classics|
Cat: NC 070 561-2
|1996|| Edita Gruberova,|
Deon van der Walt,
Orchester der Oper Zurich and Chor des Opernhaus Zurich,
(Video recording of a performance at the Zürich Opera)
|DVD: TDK Marketing Europe GmbH|
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