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.



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

Torquato Tasso (1833)

Melodrama in Three Acts
Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti

Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo (1833)

Music Drama in Two Acts
Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti

Rosmonda d’Inghilterra (1834)

Music Drama in Two Acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Gemma di Vergy (1834)

Lyric Tragedy in Two Acts
Libretto by Giovanni Emanuele Bidéra

Maria Stuarda (1835)

Lyric Tragedy in Three Acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Bardari

Marin Faliero (1835)

Lyric Tragedy in Three Acts
Libretto by Giovanni Emanuele Bidéra

Belisario (1836)

Lyric Tragedy in Three Parts
Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano

Il campanello di notte (1836)

Comic Opera in One Act
Libretto by the composer