Donizetti

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.



Il borgomastro di Saardam (1827)

THE MAYOR OF SAARDAM Comic Melodrama in Two ActsLibretto by Domenico Gilardoni CAST OF CHARACTERS Marietta Soprano Pietro Flimann Tenor Pietro Mikailoff, or Czar Peter Baritone Mayor Vambett Buffo Carlotta, his daughter Mezzo-Soprano Timoteo Bass Leforte Bass Ali Mohamed Tenor Mayor’s militia, Dutch soldiers. Chorus of carpenters and peasants. The action takes place on the…
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L’esule di Roma, ossia Il proscritto (1828) or Settimio il proscritto

Exiled from Rome, or The Proscribed One, or Septimius the Proscribed Heroic Melodrama in Two ActsLibretto by Domenico Gilardoni CAST OF CHARACTERS Murena, a senator Bass Argelia, his daughter Soprano Emilia, younger sister to Argelia Mime Septimius, formerly tribune, now proscribed Tenor Leontina, confidante of Argelia, and charged with Care of Emilia Mezzo Soprano Publius,…
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Gianni da Calais (1828)

Gianni from Calais Semi-serious Melodrama in Three ActsLibretto by Domenico Gilardoni CAST OF CHARACTERS Metilde, wife of Gianni da Calais Soprano Gianni da Calais, naval captain Tenor Rustano, chief of Gianni’s seamen Baritone The King, father of Metilde Bass Arrigo, page of the Duchess Contralto Rogiero, a noble of the kingdom Tenor Guido, coastal pilot…
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Alina, regina di Golconda (1828)

Alina, Queen of Golconda Melodrama in Two Acts Libretto by Felice Romani CAST OF CHARACTERS Alina, formerly a shepherdess, then queen of Golconda Soprano Fiorina, first among the slaves Mezzo Soprano Seide, Grandee of the kingdom, suitor of Alina Baritone Volmar, French ambassador, lover of Alina Baritone Hassan, grand official of the court Tenor Cora,…
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Il paria (1828)

Type your introduction here. Il paria (The Pariah) Melodrama in Two ActsLibretto by Domenico Gilardoni A brief account of The Pariah and the Melodrama[Foreword by the librettist] The inhabitants of the peninsula bathed by the Ganges, the Kistna and the Indus, are divided into tribes called castes, of which the most prestigious were those of…
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Il giovedì grasso, o il nuovo Pourceaugnac (1829)

Fat Thursday,orThe New Pouceaugnac A farce in One ActLibretto by Domenico Gilardoni First performed at the Teatro del Fondo in Naples On 26 February 1829 CAST OF CHARACTERS The Colonel (a curmudgeon) Baritone Nina (shy) his daughter in love with Teodoro Soprano Teodoro (very shy and always dithering) a young officer in love with Nina…
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Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth (1829)

Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle Serious Melodrama in Three Acts Libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola CAST OF CHARACTERS Elizabeth, queen of England Soprano Albert Dudley, Earl of Leicester Tenor Amelia Robsart, his secret wife Soprano Warney, squire of the count Baritone Lambourne Bass Fanny Mezzo-soprano Knights and ladies in waiting of the Queen. Servants and guards…
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Imelda de’Lambertazzi (1830)

IMELDA DE’ LAMBERTAZZI Tragic Melodrama in Two Acts|Libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola THE ARGUMENT Lambertazzi died in 1275, victim of a most faithful but unfortunate love. The irreconcilable hatred which for many years been nursed between the two families, Lambertazzi and Geiremei, and which was often renewed through new vendettas, raised an insuperable barrier to…
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Il diluvio universale (1830)

The Great DelugeTragico-Sacred Stage Piece in 3 ActsLibretto by Domenico GilardoniBased on Heaven and Earth, by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1824), and Il diluvio by Francesco Ringhieri (1788) First performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples on 6 March 1830, revised in 1834 for a production at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, and…
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Anna Bolena (1830)

Anne BoleynLyric Tragedy in 3 ActsLibretto by Felice Romani, based on the other libretti, Enrico VIII ossia Anna Bolena by Ippolito Pindemonte and Anna Bolena by Alessandro Pepoli entitledFirst performed on 26 December 1830 at the Teatro Carcano in Milan. FOREWORD Henry VIII, King of England, in love with Anne Boleyn, repudiated Catherine of Aragon,…
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