Tag Archives: Gaetano Donizetti

what’s your favorite Donizetti opera?

Gaetano Donizetti

Today is composer Gaetano Donizetti’s birthday!  He was born on November 29, 1797, in Bergamo, Italy.

Some wonderful links to recordings, broadcasts, publications, and performances of Donizetti’s work have been posted at the Donizetti Society web page and a worth a visit.

 To celebrate the occasion of this marvelous opera composer’s birth, I thought would revive my Donizetti poll.

So, gentle readers and bel canto buffs. Would you like to weigh in on your favorite Donizetti opera? Write-ins welcome in the comments, of course.


Filed under Audience participation, Bel canto opera, Classic Opera, Poll

Donizetti operas — ‘Lucia’ plus three score more

'Lucia di Lammermoor' --Operatoonity readers favorite Donizetti

Editor’s Note:  Today’s Golden Operatoonity repost is in celebration of the anniversary of the Premiere of  Donizetti ‘s Lucia di Lammermoor, on September 26, 1835, in Naples, Italy.

In this century, it’s generally agreed upon that only a dozen of Donizetti’s operas are worth producing. Arguably some people would quibble with even that figure. According to the Donizetti poll I posted yesterday, Operatoonity readers favor Lucia di Lammermoor.  Some opera fans I know consider Lucia not only their favorite Donizetti, but their all-time favorite opera.

According to one of Opera Pulse’s polls, in which I voted, Lucia is also the second best opera character to be for Halloween (she was my first choice). I also had a blast writing about Lucia on this blog last June. Whoever schedules Lucia during the most popular marrying month in North America must have a wicked sense of humor. Don’t expect to see Lucia on the cover of Bride Magazine anytime soon.

After one of my readers mentioned that some of Donizetti’s lesser known operas featured some of the silliest plots ever, I decided to give them a look-see. According to The Penguin Opera Guide, Donizetti wrote 65 operas in total. Other sites say 60. Sixty operas? Verdi wrote half that many. True, most of Verdi’s works endure today where as only one-fifth of Donizetti’s works are regularly produced. But 60? That’s a lotta opera!

Did any other composer write as much as Donizetti? Apparently, depending on how you define opera, several composers are credited with more than 100 each, one surpassing 250, but how many composers whose work is produced today? Good question. Donizetti would have to be right up there.

According to Bachtrack’s 2010 League Tables, Donizetti ranked 7th of composers with most opera performances worldwide with 240 after Verdi with 824, Mozart  with 771, Puccini  with 681, Wagner  with 273, Rossini  with 259, and Richard Strauss 246. More Strauss than Donizetti?  A surprising statistic, per moi.

I can’t say which of the following Donizetti works are so silly they aren’t worth producing, but I can tell you which one would drive the marketing department crazy:  Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali   Just how do you fit that title onto a poster?

Anyhoo, here’s one list of his complete works:


* L’ajo nell’imbarazzo
* Alahor in Granata
* Alfredo il grande
* Alina, regina di Golconda
* L’ange de Nisida
* Anna Bolena
* L’assedio di Calais


* Belisario
* Betly


* Il campanello
* Il castello di Kenilworth
* Caterina Cornaro (opera)
* Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali


* Il diluvio universale
* Dom Sébastien
* Don Gregorio (opera)
* Don Pasquale
* Le duc d’Albe


 * L’elisir d’amore
 * Elvida
* Emilia di Liverpool
* Enrico di Borgogna
* L’esule di Roma


* Fausta (opera)
* La favorite
* La fille du régiment
* Francesca di Foix
* Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo


* Gabriella di Vergy
* Gemma di Vergy
* Gianni di Calais
* Gianni di Parigi


* Il giovedì grasso
* Imelda de’ Lambertazzi


 * Linda di Chamounix
* Lucia di Lammermoor
* Lucrezia Borgia (opera)


* Maria de Rudenz
* Maria di Rohan
* Maria Padilla
* Maria Stuarda
* Marino Faliero (opera)


* Olivo e Pasquale
* Otto mesi in due ore


 * Parisina (opera)
* Pia de’ Tolomei
* Pietro il grande
* Il Pigmalione
* Poliuto


 * Rita (opera)
* Roberto Devereux
* La romanzesca e l’uomo nero
* Rosmonda d’Inghilterra


 * Sancia di Castiglia


 * Torquato Tasso (opera)


* Ugo, conte di Parigi
* Una follia


* La zingara
* Zoraida di Granata


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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, Bel canto opera, Classical Composers, Golden Operatoonity, North American Opera, Poll

favorite December opera, anyone?

Winter Solstice

Every December, I expect to see less daylight but more white twinkle lights during my evening commute and hear musical selections I don’t hear the other eleven months of the year. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Winter Solstice, holiday music is imbued with certain qualities–that includes classical music.    

Thanks to Western religions, December has a certain musical sensibility about it. Consider the  following selection of operas. Many of them–Hänsel and Gretel (Humperdinck), Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti) and Norma (Bellini) –actually premiered in December. Some of them have a certain lightness to them–Daughter of the Regiment, La Cenerentola–that warms you like wrapping a woolen mitten around your heart. Others like La bohème have a cold, snowy, Little-Match-Girl affect to them.    

Which is your favorite? All write-ins welcome in the comments section. If you’re curious to see what’s playing in the month of December around the world, you can see all the listings of many major houses at Bachtrack.


Filed under Audience participation, Classic Opera, favorites, Holidays, Poll

the perfect opera for the marryin’ month in a sardonic world . . .

Lucia, the quintessential bridezilla


So, WEtv thinks they’ve got a lock on bridezillas?        

The cable network’s got nothin’ compared to the opera-sphere. You want a bridezilla? How about Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti’s murdering missus?        

Traditionally, June has been the most popular month for marriage, probably because the Roman goddess Juno, for which June was named, was also the goddess of marriage. (Perhaps the fact that roses are in bloom has something to do with it, too.)        

So, I find it perfectly ironic when opera companies and festivals like Arbor Opera Theatre present Lucia di Lammermoor in June. 

Sidebar: It actually premiered in September, on the 26th of the month in Naples in 1853, and was based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermoor. It  is considered Gaetano Donizetti’s masterwork.        

If WEtv thinks brides who scream at their attendants are bridezillas worthy of Nielsen Ratings, how about a bride who murders the groom on their wedding night?        

So, gentle readers, any other bridezillas from operas–besides Lucia di Lammermoor? Or is Lucia the best of the worst?


Filed under Classic Opera, masterpieces

don’t quote me…

Hector Berlioz


Lest you think today’s audiences have scaled new heights of incivility, listen to this observation by Hector Berlioz regarding a performance of The Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) in Berlioz’ time.    

I found the theater full of people talking in normal voices, their backs to the stage. The singers, undeterred, gesticulated and yelled their lungs out….People were gambling, eating supper in their boxes, etc.
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)    

 Since The Elixir of Love is one of the most performed operas in the United States, we’ll take a closer look at it tomorrow on “opera-toonity.”

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Filed under Classic Opera, Classical Composers, opera quotes