GAETANO DONIZETTI stands out with his wonderfully expressive and easy- to-remember melodies. Possessing poetic talent, he is the author of the most librettos of his operas. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto (beautiful singing) opera style and was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi. He is the author of about 75 operas.
Don Pasquale is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in three acts based on the libretto by Giovanni Ruffini as well as the composer himself. Described as a high point and one of the last examples of opera buffa, it remains as popular today as it was when it premiered on January 3rd, 1843 at the Théâtre-Italien at the Salle Ventadour in Paris. Wit and inexhaustible melody are characteristic of all arias and ensembles. The main melodic material is laid in The overture.
L’elisir d’amore is one of Donizetti’s most captivating operas. It was composed in Naples, on the libretto by Felice Romani, author of a large number of opera librettos used internationally. Opera buffa as a genre, the plot of the work is related to the legends of the magic potions that can be used to win the love of a loved one (a plot used by other authors, such as Richard Wagner in Tristan and Isolde, 1865). The premiere of L’elisir d’amore on May 12th, 1832 in Milan had a huge success. The cavatine of the peasant Nemorino who is in love with the rich country girl Adina from the second act Una furtiva lagrima (One Tear), in which he tells about his unhappy love, is one of the most famous Italian opera arias in tenor repertoire.
Unlike Donizetti’s comic works Lucia di Lammermoor is a tragic opera. It is one of the masterpieces in the belcanto opera style. The libretto is loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor telling of the feud between two noble families in Scotland. Salvadore Cammarano, the librettist of many prominent composers (including Verdi’s The Troubadour) wrote the Italian- language libretto. Although there are other works with the same plot, the premiere of
th Lucia di Lammermoor on September 26 , 1835 at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples had a resounding success. Only a year and a half later, the opera was staged in Paris, Vienna and other major music centers. Since then, it has been staged all over the world. Tombe del’avi miei… Fra poco a me ricovero (Tombs of my ancestors… accept me) is the exciting aria by Edgardo di Ravenswood (Lucia’s fiancé and enemy of the Ashton family) from the sixth scene of the third act, in which the hero is ready to duel and be killed, as life for him has no longer any meaning.