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.



Anna Bolena (1830)

Lyric Tragedy in Three Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

I pazzi per progetto (1830)

Farce in One Act and Eighteen Scenes
Libretto by Domenico Gilardoni

Gianni di Parigi (1831)

Comic Opera in Two Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Francesca di Foix (1831)

Melodrama in One Act
Libretto by Domenico Gilardoni

L’elisir d’amore (1832)

Comic Opera in Two Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Ugo, conte di Parigi (1832)

Lyric Tragedy in Two Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Fausta (1832)

Serious Melodrama in Two Acts
Libretto by Domenico Gilardoni and Gaetano Donizetti


Sancia di Castiglia (1832)

Lyric Tragedy in Two Acts
Libretto by Pietro Salatini

Lucrezia Borgia (1833)

Music Drama in a Prologue and Two Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Parisina d’Este (1833)

Lyric Tragedy in Three Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani