Torquato Tasso (opera)

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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.

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

The work has been criticized for "its odd deployment of vocal types" [1] characteristic of the semiseria genre.

Roles

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 9 September 1833
(Conductor: - )
Eleonora, Duke Alfonso's sister soprano Adelina Spech-Salvi
Eleonora, Countess of Scandiano mezzo-soprano Angiolina Carocci
Torquato Tasso baritone Giorgio Ronconi
Roberto Geraldini, the duke's secretary tenor Antonio Poggi
Don Gherardo bass Ferdinando Lauretti
Ambrogio, Torquato's servanttenorLuigi Garofalo
Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrarabass Antonio Rinaldi
Pages, knights

Synopsis

Time: 16th century
Place: Ferrara, Northern Italy [2]

Recordings

YearCast
(Torquato Tasso, Eleanore d'Este, Roberto, Don Gherhardo)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [3]
1974 Christian du Plessis,
Janet Price,
Bruce Brewer,
Andrea Snarski
Kenneth Montgomery,
Opera Rara Orchestra and Chorus
(Recording of a performance in the Collegiate Theatre, London as part of the Camden Festival on 27 February and 1 and 2 March)
Audio CD: Celestial Audio
Cat: CA 247
1985 Simone Alaimo,
Luciana Serra,
Ernesto Palacio,
Roberto Coviello
Massimo De Bernart
Orchestra and chorus of Teatro Comunale, Genova
Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GB 2028/0-2

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References

Notes

  1. Ashbrook 1998, p. 762
  2. Osborne, p. 220
  3. Source for recording information: operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Cited 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.

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

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.

Operabase is an online database of opera performances, opera houses and companies, and performers themselves as well as their agents. Found at operabase.com, it was created in 1996 by English software engineer and opera lover Mike Gibb. Initially a hobby site, it became his full-time occupation after three years. Opera magazine describes the Operabase website as "the most comprehensive source of data on operatic activity".