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

Peter Grimes in Princeton

The Princeton Festival presents one opera annually, amidst other events. Its offerings usually alternate annually between 20th century and earlier operas. This year the Festival presented Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, now a classic work, in a very effective and moving production.

Scintillating Strauss in Saint Louis

If you like your Ariadne on Naxos productions as playful as a box of puppies, then Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is the address for you.

Saint Louis Takes On ‘The Scottish Opera’

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis took forty years before attempting Verdi’s Macbeth but judging by the excellence of the current production, it was well worth the wait.

Anatomy Theater: A Most Unusual New Opera

On June 16, 2016, Los Angeles Opera with Beth Morrison Projects presented the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang's Anatomy Theater at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT).

Shalimar in St. Louis: Pagliaccio Non Son

In its compact forty-year history, the ambitious Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has just triumphantly presented its twenty-fifth world premiere with Shalimar the Clown.

Jenůfa, ENO

The sharp angles and oddly tilting perspectives of Charles Edwards’ set for David Alden’s production of Jenůfa at ENO suggest a community resting precariously on the security and certainty of its customs, soon to slide from this precipice into social and moral anarchy.

The “Other” Marriage of Figaro in a West Village Townhouse

Last week an audience of 50 assembled in the kitchen of a luxurious West Village townhouse for a performance of Marriage of Figaro.

West Wind: A new song-cycle by Sally Beamish

In a recent article in BBC Music Magazine tenor James Gilchrist reflected on the reason why early-nineteenth-century England produced no corpus of art song to match the German lieder of Schumann, Schubert and others, despite the great flowering of English Romantic poetry during this period.

Florencia en el Amazonas, NYCO

With the New York Premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas, the New York City Opera Steps Out of the Shadows of the Past

Idomeneo, re di Creta, Garsington

Opportunities to see Idomeneo are not so frequent as they might be, certainly not so frequent as they should be.

Don Carlo in San Francisco

Not merely Don Carlo, but the five-act Don Carlo in the 1886 Modena version! The welcomed esotericism of San Francisco Opera’s extraordinary spring season.

Jenůfa in San Francisco

The early summer San Francisco Opera season has the feel of a classy festival. There is an introduction of Spanish director Calixto Bieito to American audiences, a five-act Don Carlo and two awaited, inevitable role debuts, Karita Mattila as Kostelnička and Malin Bystrom as Janacek's Jenůfa.

Musings on the “American Ring

Now that the curtain has long fallen on the third and last performance of the Ring cycle at the Washington National Opera (WNO), it is safe to say that the long-anticipated production has been an unqualified success for the company, director Francesca Zambello, and conductor Philippe Auguin.

Nabucco, Covent Garden

Most of the attention during this revival of Daniele Abbado’s 2013 production of Nabucco has been directed at Plácido Domingo’s reprise of the title role, with the critical reception somewhat mixed.

Tristan, English National Opera

My first Tristan, indeed my first Wagner, in the theatre was ENO’s previous staging of the work, twenty years ago, in 1996. The experience, as it should, as it must, although this is alas far from a given, quite overwhelmed me.

The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne

Four years ago, almost to the day (13th to 12th), I saw Melly Still’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen during its first Glyndebourne run. I found myself surprised how much more warmly I responded to it this time.

London: A 90th birthday tribute to Horovitz

This recital celebrated both the work of the Park Lane Group, which has been supporting the careers of outstanding young artists for 60 years, and the 90th birthday of Joseph Horovitz, who was born in Vienna in 1926 and emigrated to England aged 12.

Opera Las Vegas: A Blazing Carmen in the Desert

Headed by General Director Luana DeVol, a world-renowned dramatic soprano, Opera Las Vegas is a relatively new company that presents opera with first-rate casts at the University of Las Vegas’s Judy Bayley Theater. In 2014 they presented Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and in 2015, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This year they offered a blazing rendition of Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

La bohème, Opera Holland Park

Ever since a friend was reported as having said he would like something in return for modern-dress Shakespeare (how quaint that term seems now, as if anyone would bat an eyelid!), namely an Elizabethan-dress staging of Look Back in Anger, I have been curious about the possibilities of ‘down-dating’, as I suppose we might call it. Rarely, if ever, do we see it, though.

Holland Festival: Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, Amsterdam

Leading a very muscular Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Principal Conductor Markus Stenz brilliantly delivered Alban Berg’s Wozzeck with a superb Florian Boesch in the lead and a mesmerising Asmik Grigorian as Marie his wife.

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):