The French version of the opera Lucia…, by Donizetti

Ángel Vázquez Millares
28/ 12/ 2012

On November, 1834, Gaetano Donizetti signed a contract with Naples-based San Carlos Theater in which he was undertaken to compose three operas to be opened in July, 1835.

Maestro Gaetano Donizetti had opened the opera Marino Faliero, in Paris, and he went to Naples on April, that year.

After he had dispelled his doubts, he decided to compose music for a libretto based on the novel La novia de Lammermoor, written by Walter Scott, which had been published in 1819. It had previously inspired composers Carafa, Balocchi or Bredal to compose several operas.

The libretto of the opera Lucia di Lammermoor was written by the skillful playwright Salvatore Cammarano. As it had a great success, they worked together for subsequent operas.

Donizetti was able to compose the opera in six weeks, and it was ready at the beginning of July. It was successfully opened at San Carlos Theater, on September 26th.

The leading roles were played by soprano Fanny Tacchinardi-Persiani and tenor Gilbert Duprez, who were considered to be the most important opera stars at that time.

Soprano Fanny Tacchinardi-Persiani had a beautiful voice with easy trebles, an excellent technique, a perfect tuning and a delightful charisma on stage.

Duprez, who was the first to reach top C without the use of falsetto voice, was a tenor who was able to combine his elegant phrasing with his impetuous di forza passages.

Four years later, Donizetti was entrusted by the Paris-based Théâtre de la Renaissance to compose a new version of the opera, based on the libretto written by French librettists Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz.

The new opera was entitled Lucie de Lammermmoor. It was opened on August 6th, 1839, and was starred by Anna Thillon and Achille Ricciardi.

The beautiful aria Regnaba nel silenzio do not appear on the French version, so as characters Alisa and Normanno, and others are included, such as Gilbert, etc. But, the same music from the Italian version appears on the French one.

The opera Lucie de Lammermoor had been staged during the 19th century in France, but it gradually disappeared during the 20th century.

Nowadays, the opera Lucie de Lammermoor is considered a rarity. But, its appearance at Martina Franca Festival, in 1997, starred by the famous diva Natalie Dessay, has created an atmosphere of great expectation.



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