Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

Il barbiere di Siviglia at Glyndebourne

Director Annabel Arden believes that Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia is ‘all about playfulness, theatricality, light and movement’. It’s certainly ‘about’ those things and they are, as Arden suggests, ‘based in the music’.

Oedipe at Covent Garden

George Enescu’s Oedipe was premiered in Paris 1936 but it has taken 80 years for the opera to reach the stage of Covent Garden. This production by Àlex Ollé (a member of the Catalan theatrical group, La Fura Dels Baus) and Valentina Carrasco, which arrives in London via La Monnaie where it was presented in 2011, was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint.

Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera, Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago staged Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette as the last opera in its current subscription season.

L’incoronazione di Poppea, RAO

‘The plot is perhaps the least moral in all opera; wrong triumphs in the name of love and we are not expected to mind.’

Madame Butterfly , ENO

Anthony Minghella’s production of Madame Butterfly for ENO is wearing well. First seen in 2005, it is now being aired for the sixth time and is still, as I observed in 2013, ‘a breath-taking visual banquet’.

Valiant but tentative: La straniera at the Concertgebouw

This concert version of La straniera felt like a compulsory musicology field trip, but it had enough vocal flashes to lobby for more frequent performances of this midway Bellini.

London Festival of Baroque Music 2016: Words with Purcell

As poetry is the harmony of words, so music is that of notes; and as poetry is a rise above prose and oratory, so is music the exaltation of poetry.

The Dark Mirror: Zender’s Winterreise

From experiments with musique concrète in the 1940s, to the Minimalists’ explorations into tape-loop effects in the 1960s, via the appearance of hip-hop in the 1970s and its subsequent influence on electronic dance music in the 1980s, to digital production methods today, ‘sampling’ techniques have been employed by musicians working in genres as diverse as jazz fusion, psychedelic rock and classical music.

Great Scott Wows San Diego

On May 7, 2016, San Diego Opera presented the West Coast premiere of Great Scott, an opera by Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie. McNally’s original libretto pokes fun at everything from football to bel canto period opera. It includes snippets of nineteenth century tunes as well as Heggie's own bel canto writing.

Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini, London

A foiled abduction, a castle-threatening inferno, romantic infatuation, guilt-laden near-suicide, gun-shots and knife-blows: Andrea Leone Tottola’s libretto for Vincenzo Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, certainly does not lack dramatic incident.

Manitoba Opera: Of Mice and Men

Opera as an art form has never shied away from the grittier shadows of life. Nor has Manitoba Opera, with its recent past productions dealing with torture, incest, murder and desperate political prisoners still so tragically relevant today.

The Rose and the Ring

Published in 1855 as an entertainment for his two daughters, William Makepeace Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring is a burlesque fairy-tale whose plot — to the author’s wilful delight, perhaps — defies summation and elucidation.

The Lighthouse at San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle

What more fitting memorial for composer Peter Maxwell Davies (d. 03/14/2016) than a splendid performance of The Lighthouse, the third of his eight works for the stage.

King’s Consort at Wigmore Hall

I suspect that many of those at the Wigmore Hall for The King’s Consort’s performance of the La Senna festeggiante (The Rejoicing Seine) were lured by the cachet of ‘Antonio Vivaldi’ and further enticed by the notion of a lover’s serenade at which the generic term ‘serenata’ seems to hint.

Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2016

Having enjoyed superb singing by a young cast of soloists in Classical Opera’s UK premiere of Jommelli’s Il Vogoleso the previous evening, I was delighted that the 2016 Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final at the Wigmore Hall confirmed the strength and depth of talent possessed by the young singers studying in and emerging from our academies and conservatoires.

Pacific Opera Project Recreates Mozart and Salieri Contest

On February 7, 1786, Emperor Joseph II of Austria had brand new one-act operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri performed in the Schönbrunn Palace’s Orangery.

Powerful chemistry in La Cenerentola in Cologne

Those poor opera lovers in Cologne have a never ending problem with the city’s opera house. Together with the rest of city, the construction of the new opera house is mired in political incompetence.

Tannhäuser: Royal Opera House, London

London remains starved of Wagner. This season, its major companies offer but two works, Tannhäuser from the Royal Opera and Tristan from ENO.

The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf

Dmitry Bertman’s hilarious staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s political sex-comedy The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf.

San Diego Opera Presents a Tragic Madama Butterfly

On April 16, 2016, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s sixth opera, Madama Butterfly, in an intriguing production by Garnett Bruce. Roberto Oswald’s scenery included the usual Japanese styled house with many sliding doors and walls. On either side, however, were blooming cherry trees with rough trunks and gnarled branches that looked as though they had been growing on the property for a hundred years.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Gaetano Donizetti: Don Gregorio
09 Jul 2009

DONIZETTI: Don Gregorio

Like a baseball player with a low batting average but a propensity for home runs, Gaetano Donizetti composed dozens of operas, among which only a very few get frequent performances today.

Gaetano Donizetti: Don Gregorio

Giorgio Valerio; Giorgio Trucco; Elizaveta Martirosyan; Livio Scarpellini; Paolo Bordogna; Alessandra Fratelli; Luca Ludovici, Orchestra and Chorus of the Bergamo Musica Festival Gaetano Donizetti. Stefano Montanari, conductor. Roberto Recchia, director. Recorded live: Bergamo, Italy, November 2nd-4th, 2007.

Dynamic 33579 [DVD]

$33.00  Click to buy

After Lucia di Lammermoor, in fact, it is mostly his comic operas that retain their appeal — L’elisir d’amore, Don Pasquale, and La Fille du Regiment. But this does not mean that the lesser known operas consist of foul balls and strike outs. The Dynamic label is one company that has revived many a worthy rare opera, and this DVD of a 2007 performance of the little-known Don Gregorio at the Teatro Donizetti (appropriately enough) in Bergamo may not be a home run, but it’s a solid hit.

Conductor Stefano Montanari dances his way through the overture, a Rossini-inspired affair that even includes a mini-crescendo section, possibly in homage to Donizetti’s great predecessor. A relatively early work (Stefano Olcese in the cogent booklet essay gives the year of the premiere as 1824), Don Gregorio never quite leaves the shadow of Rossini. Absent a classic Donizetti outpouring of memorable melody, such as ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ in L’elisir, this opera will probably never become a repertory item. Nonetheless, the music entertainingly supports an amusing turn on familiar comic themes of the time. The Marchese Antiquati wants the tutor of his two young sons to help the boys keep their “innocence.” However, both young men are much more knowledgeable about the appeal of the opposite sex than they are about any of the subjects Don Gregorio, the tutor, struggles to teach them. One son, in fact, has not only fallen in love, but married and produced a child, all in secret. Of course Don Gregorio tries to help the son keep this a secret, but in the end the Marchese learns the truth and reluctantly gives his blessing.

In a staging from the Wexford Festival, with sets and costumes by Ferdia Murphy, a twist is added — Don Gregorio is a cross-dresser in private, with more than usual affection for his charges. It’s a harmless enough ploy to keep the action fresh, and director Roberto Recchia manages that very well. None of the singers overacts obnoxiously, and Paolo Bordogna in the title role makes Don Gregorio an interesting twist on Rossini’s Figaro — a man of lower circumstance but with more wit and brains than his so-called superiors. Giorgio Trucco is Enrico, the married son, and Livio Scarpellini the more comically adolescent one, with a crush on his rather mature housemaid, Leonarda, amusingly performed by Alessandra Fratelli. Luca Ludovici, as Enrico’s secret wife, presents a strong, secure young woman, rather than a weepy ingenue. Giorgio Valerio rounds out the cast well as the doting father oddly concerned with the chastity of his sons.

The staging is modest, the singers more charming than impressive, at least as vocalists, and the opera really just an extended piffle — and yet, it’s harmless fun. And in the opera world today, fans should take their fun where it can be found. On that basis, this Don Gregorio earns a recommendation.

Chris Mullins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):