The More I learn, the Less I Know

Donizetti is the first composer whose work I have tried to tackle. My goal was and is to provide serviceable English versions of all of the 60-odd operas he composed during his 25 year productive career. Of course, as with all 18th- and 19th-century Italian opera, the archaic poetic language that characterizes the serious works takes some getting used to. For another, many of the earlier libretti written for Naples include a buffo bass character who sings in Neapolitan dialect. With that I do the best I can, but I’m sure there are things I will have misconstrued. I welcome corrections and suggestions. As elsewhere, I have tried to steer a course between strict literal interpretation and readability, erring on the side of the literal as I find it more useful for opera lovers who want to understand the Italian rather than just the gist. Consequently there is much that is stilted and awkward. That’s just the way it is.

Enrico di Borgogna (1818)

Opera in 2 acts, first performed 14 November 1818

Il falegname di Livonia (1819)

Comic Opera in 2 Acts

Zoraida di Granata (1822)

Heroic Opera in Two Acts
Libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli

La zingara (1822)

Melodrama Semiserio in 2 Acts
Libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola

La lettera anonima (1822)

Farce in One Act

Chiara e Serafina, ossia Il pirata (1822)

Opera Semi-seria in 2 Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Alfredo il grande (1823)

Serious Melodrama in 2 Acts
Libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola

Emilia di Liverpool (1824)

Drama Semiserio in 2 Acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Ceccherini

Alahor in Granata (1826)

Music Drama in 2 Acts
Libretto by M. A. , adapted from a libretto by Felice Romani

Elvida (1826)

Music Drama in One Act
Libretto by Giovanni Schmidt