GAETANO DONIZETTI

Contents

1. Life
2. Selected Discography

LIFE

Gaetano DonizettiGaetano Donizetti (Bergamo, 29 November 1797 – Bergamo, 8 April 1848), Italian composer. With Gioacchino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti is one of the three bel canto composers and a leading figure of Italian opera in the first half of the 19th century. He exerted a powerful influence on his colleagues, and especially Giuseppe Verdi, of whom he is considered a precursor.

Differently from Rossini and Bellini, Donizetti was not born into a family with a musical background, but as a young boy he was taught by composer Giovanni Simone (Johann Simon) Mayr, who was maestro di cappella at the cathedral of S Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. Under Mayr’s supervision, Donizetti studied fugue and counterpoint. Mayr was extremely supportive of his young pupil and it was thanks to his interest that Donizetti continued his studies at Bologna’s Liceo Filarmonico Comunale under Padre Stanislao Mattei. In Bologna, he wrote his first opera, Il Pigmalione, which was never performed during his lifetime.

One of the most prolific operatic composers of his generation, Donizetti wrote around seventy operas and, although the most part are not currently performed, several of them still have a significant part in the repertoire. Among Donizetti’s most important works, there are Anna Bolena (1830), L’elisir d’amore (1832), Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), Roberto Devereux (1837), La fille du regiment (1840), La favourite (1840) and Don Pasquale (1843).

After a triumphant career in Naples (more than fifty of his operas premiered there), Donizetti moved to Paris after several professional and personal setbacks. Above all, Paris promised to be a place where he could enjoy more artistic freedom than in Naples, where censorship was increasingly oppressive.

Even though Donizetti’s style is marked by the influence of Rossini (especially in his early operas, for the opulence of vocal display) and Bellini, not to speak of his teacher, Mayr, he found his distinguishing traits in the use of orchestral colours and nuances for dramatic effect and in his harmonic innovations. Moreover, the need to meet the expectations of different audiences forced him to study new musical alternatives from time to time, thus improving and developing his style further.

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY

ANNA BOLENA (1830)

Gaetano Donizetti Anna Bolena Joan Sutherland Richard BonyngeAnna Bolena

Joan Sutherland, Judith Forst, James Morris, Michael Myers
Orchestra and Chorus of the Canadian Opera Company
Richard Bonynge, conductor
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FRANCESCA DI FOIX (1831)

Gaetano Donizetti Francesca di Foix Massis Spagnoli Ford AllemandiFrancesca di Foix

Pietro Spagnoli, Bruce Ford, Alfonso Antoniozzi, Annick Massis, Jennifer Larmore
Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Antonello Allemandi, conductor
Opera Rara, 2004
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L’ELISIR D’AMORE (1832)

L'elisir d'amore Donizetti Sutherland Bonynge PavarottiL’elisir d’amore

Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Dominic Cossa, Spiro Malas, Maria Casula
Ambrosian Opera Chorus
English Chamber Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Decca, 1971

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Gaetano Donizetti Elisir d'amore Miah Persson Rolando Villazon Ildebrando D'ArcangeloL’elisir d’amore

Miah Persson, Rolando Villazon, Roman Trekel, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Regula Mühlemann
Balthasar Neumann Chor und Ensemble
Pablo Heras Casado, conductor
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LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR (1835)

 

Lucia di Lammermoor

Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarottii, Sherrill Milnes, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Huguette Tourangeau
Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Richard Bonynge, conductor
Decca, 1971 (1985)
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Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor Callas Di Stefano KarajanLucia di Lammermoor

Rolando Panerai, Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Nicola Zaccaria,
Coro del Teatro alla Scala
RIAS Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
EMI, 1997

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ROBERTO DEVEREUX (1837)

Gaetano Donizetti Roberto Devereux Mariella Devia Gregory Kunde Bruno CampanellaRoberto Devereux

Gregory Kunde, Mariella Devia, Silvia Tro Santafé
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Real de Madrid
Bruno Campanella, conductor
BelAir Classiques, 2016
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LA FILLE DU REGIMENT  (1840)

(La figlia del reggimento)

Donizetti La figlia del reggimento Moffo Campora Fioravanti ManninoLa figlia del reggimento

Anna Moffo, Giuseppe Campora, Giulio Fioravanti, Jolanda Gardino, Antonio Cassinelli, Teodoro Rovetta, Tommaso Frascati
Coro e Orchestra della RAI di Milano
Franco Mannino, conductor
Archipel – Walhall, 2011
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REQUIEM

Donizetti Requiem Pavarotti Bruson Cortez Washington FacklerRequiem

Viorica Cortez, Luciano Pavarotti, Renato Bruson, Paolo Washington
Orchestra e Coro Ente Lirico Arena di Verona
Chorus master: Corrado Mirandola
Gerhard Fackler, conductor
Decca, 1980
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