Zoraida di Granata (also Zoraide di Granata or Zoraïda di Granata) is a melodramma eroico (opera seria or 'heroic' opera), in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto had been partly prepared Bartolomeo Merelli (about whose tardiness the composer complained), based on the French play, Gonzalve de Cordoue ou Grenade Reconquise by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1791), and on a libretto by Luigi Romanelli to an opera by Nicolini called Abenamet e Zoraide.
When Donizetti arrived in Rome, carrying a letter of introduction from his teacher and mentor Johann Simon Mayr to poet and librettist Jacopo Ferretti, he secured his help in revising Merelli's text.
Although it was Donizetti's first theatrical success "and the opera in which he began to adopt 'Rossinian' techniques",the original 1822 version of this violent love story was never given a complete performance because Amerigo Sbigoli, the tenor originally cast in the role of Abenamet, died shortly before the first night, with no replacement available. Donizetti quickly adapted this role for contralto, though omitting three numbers in the process.
The first performance took place at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, on 28 January 1822 and it and its composer received great acclaim in the weekly Notizie del giorno:
The opera was presented in a revised edition at the same theatre on 7 January 1824, and given a revival in Lisbon in 1825.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere cast, 28 January 1822|
(Conductor: - )
|Almuzir, King of Granada||tenor||Domenico Donzelli|
|Almanzor, friend of Abenamet||bass||Gaetano Rambaldi|
|Zoraida, in love with, and loved by, Abenamet||soprano||Maria Ester Mombelli|
|Abenamet, General of the Moors||originally tenor|
(then substitute contralto)
| Amerigo Sbigoli |
|Ines, a Spanish slave and friend of Zoraida||mezzo-soprano||Gaetana Corini|
|Aw Zegri||bass||Alberto Torri|
The murderous and duplicitous Almuzir wishes to marry Zoraida, the daughter of the late king, who in turn loves Abenamet, the victorious General of the Moors. To save Abenamet from the sentence of death passed on him consequent to the machinations of Almuzir, Zoraida agrees to the marriage. She survives Abenamet’s doubts as to her fidelity and somewhat implausibly is allowed to marry him.
(Almuzir, Zoraida, Abenamet, Almanzor)
Opera House and Orchestra
|1998|| Bruce Ford,|
Paul Austin Kelly,
| David Parry,|
Orchestra of the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields
|Audio CD: Opera Rara |
Cat: ORC 17
On CDs 1, 2, and 3 (part).
The Opera Rara recording contains an additional six pieces on CDs 3 (part) and 4.