25 Jan 2009
BELLINI: Il Pirata — New York 1959
Il Pirata: Melodramma in two acts.
Hamlet: Opéra in five acts. Music composed by Ambroise Thomas. Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.
Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World, La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima (Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the piece’s interest.
Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.
Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.
Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.
“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .
This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.
Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:
Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts
I puritani, opera seria in three acts
Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.
Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts
Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.
La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.
Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.
Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.
Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts with incidental music.
Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.
Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.
Il Pirata: Melodramma in two acts.
Music composed by Vincenzo Bellini. Libretto by Felice Romani after Bertram, ou le Chateau de S.t Aldobrand (1821) by Charles Nodier and Isidore Justin Severin Taylor, a French adaptation of Bertram; or The Castle of St. Aldobrand (1816) by Charles Maturin.
First Performance: 27 October 1827, Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
|Ernesto, Duke of Caldora||Baritone|
|Imogene, his wife||Soprano|
|Gualtiero, former Count of Montalto||Tenor|
|Itulbo, Gualtiero’s lieutenant||Tenor|
|Goffredo, a hermit, once tutor to Gualtiero||Bass|
|Adele, Imogene’s companion||Mezzo-Soprano|
Setting: Sicily, 13th Century.
On a stormy sea-shore, fisherfolk watch a shipwreck. Among the survivors is Gualtiero, who is recognised and offered refuge by Goffredo. Gualtiero tells him that he drew strength from his continuing love for Imogene (“Nel furor delle tempeste”), although she is now married to Ernesto. She arrives to offer hospitality to the shipwrecked strangers, but Gualtiero does not reveal himself, and Imogene assumes from what Itulbo tells her that he is dead. She tells Adele that she dreamt that he had been killed by her husband (“Lo sognai ferito, esangue”).
At night, Itulbo warns the strangers not to reveal that they are the pirates who have been pursued by Ernesto. Meanwhile, Imogene is strangely fascinated by Goffredo’s guest, who soon reveals to her who he really is. Gualtiero learns that she had married Ernesto only because he had threatened her father’s life, and when he sees that she has borne Ernesto’s child, he starts to think of revenge (“Pietosa al padre”).
Ernesto and his men celebrate victory over the pirates (“Sì, vincemmo”), but he is annoyed that Imogene is not celebrating, too. He questions Itulbo (who pretends to be the pirates’ chief) about Gualtiero’s fate, and the act ends with all the principals expressing their conflicting emotions, though Goffredo manages to restrain Gualtiero from giving his identity away.
Adele tells Imogene that Gualtiero wishes to see her before he leaves. Ernesto accuses Imogene of being unfaithful to him, but she defends herself by saying that her continuing love for Gualtiero is based solely on her remembrance of their past encounters. Ernesto is inclined to take her word for it, but, when he is told that Gualtiero is being sheltered in his own castle, he is consumed by rage.
Despite Itulbo’s pleas, Gualtiero meets Imogene again before he leaves. Their acceptance of the situation alternates with passionate declarations of love, and Ernesto, arriving, conceals himself and overhears the end of their duet. He is discovered, and exits with Gualtiero, each determined to fight to the death.
It is Ernesto who is killed. Gualtiero, to the amazement of Ernesto’s retainers, gives himself up to justice, and, as he is taken away, he prays that Imogene may forgive him (“Tu vedrai la sventurata”). She appears in a state of anguish and sees visions of her dead husband and her son (“Col sorriso d’innocenza ... Oh sole, ti vela di tenebre oscure”). Meanwhile, the Council of Knights has condemned Gualtiero to death.
[Synopsis Source: Wikipedia]