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 furioso all’isola di San Domingo (1833)

Opera in two acts, libretto by Jacopo Ferretti, based on the story of Cardenio and Luscinda in Don Quixote.

Rosmonda d’Inghilterra (1834)

Rosamund of England Music drama in two acts Libretto by Felice Romani [ Rosamund Clifford, or “Fair Rosamund” (1150-c 1176), was Henry II’s mistress, acknowledged officially in 1174, though the relationship may have dated back to 1166. She is presumed to have been the daughter of Gautier Fitz Richard, who took the name Walter de…
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Maria Stuarda (1835)

Mary Stuart Lyric Tragedy in Three Acts Libretto by Giuseppe Bardari CAST OF CHARACTERS Elisabetta (Elizabeth), Queen of England SopranoMaria Stuarda (Mary Stuart), Queen of Scotland, prisoner in England SopranoAnna (Anne Kennedy), Mary’s nurse Mezzo-SopranoRoberto (Robert), Earl of Leicester TenorGiorgio Talbot (George Talbot), Earl of Shrewsbury BassLord Guglielmo Cecil (Lord William Cecil), Chancelor of the…
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Gemma di Vergy (1834)

Gemma di Vergy Lyric Tragedy in Two Acts Libretto by Emanuele Bidéra CAST OF CHARACTERS Count de Vergy BaritoneGemma, his repudiated wire SopranoIda de Greville, new wife of the Count Mezzo SopranoTamas, an Arab youth, servant of Gemma TenorGuido, friend of the Count BassRolando, Squire of the Count BassChoruses and supernumerary knights, archers, ladies, soldiers…
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Marino Faliero (1835)

Marin Faliero Lyric Tragedy in Three Acts Libretto by Giovanni Emanuele Bidéra CAST OF CHARACTERS Marino Faliero, doge BassIsraele Bertucci, head of the arsenal BaritoneFernando, intimate of the doge TenorSteno, young patrician, one of the Forty BassLeoni, patrician, one of the Ten TenorElena, wife of the doge SopranoIrene, lady-in-waiting to Elena SopranoVincenzo, servant to the…
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Belisario (1836)

Lyric Tragedy in Three parts, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano (Libretto)

Il campanello di notte (1836)

Comic Opera in One Act premiered 1 June 1836 at Naples, with a libretto by the composer after the play La sonnette de nuit by Mathieu-Barthélemy Troin Brunswick and Victor Lhérie

L’assedio di Calais (1836)

(The Siege of Calais) Original Paste the L’assedio di Calais Dramma lirico in tre atti Libretto di Salvatore Cammarano 493 PERSONAGGI Edoardo III, re d’Inghilterra e pretendente alla corona di Francia (basso) Isabella, Regina d’Inghilterra (mezzosoprano) Giovanni d’Aire (tenore) Eustachio de Saint-Pierre, maire di Calais (baritono) Aurelio, suo figlio (contralto) Eleonora, moglie di Aurelio (soprano)…
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Betly, o La capanna svizzera (1836)

Opera buffa in two acts, Libretto by Gaetano Donizetti. Originally composed as one act, later expanded.

L’assedio di Calais (1836)

The Siege of Calais Lyric Drama in Three ActsLibretto by Salvatore Cammarano CAST OF CHARACTERS Edoardo (Edward III), king of England and pretender to the crown of France (Bass)Isabella, queen of England (Mezzo-Soprano)Giovanni (Jean d’Aire) (Tenor)Eustachio (Eustache de Saint-Pierre), mayor of Calais (Baritone)Aurelio (Aurèle), his son (Contralto)Eleonora (Eléonore), wife of Aurelio (Soprano)Edmondo (Edmond), English general…
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