Zoraida di Granata

Loading Events

Heroic melodrama by Bartolomeo Merelli and Jacopo Ferretti (renewed version)
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
First performance: Teatro Argentina, Rome, 7 January 1824 (renewed version)
Critical edition by Edoardo Cavalli © Donizetti Theatre Foundation
Project #Donizetti200


All the shows of each weekend with 25% off. Fill out the form.


The opera chosen for the #donizetti200 project – thanks to which every edition of the festival includes a work written by Donizetti exactly two centuries earlier – is Zoraida di Granata in the second version, that of 1824. This opera had premiered two years earlier, on 28 January 1822, at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, and was the first great success of Donizetti’s career, even though at the very last moment Gaetano had had to rewrite for a mezzo-soprano en travesti the part of the male protagonist, Abenamet, which had initially been composed for a tenor, killed by an aneurysm on stage a few days earlier while singing an opera by Pacini. Two years later, impresario Paterni asked Donizetti to revise the score, expanding the part of Abenamet for the great contralto Rosmunda Pisaroni. In this new version, the opera was presented, again at the Teatro Argentina, on 7 January 1824. It was not such a success as two years earlier, probably more due to the inexhaustible thirst for novelty of the public of the time than to any real fault of the opera, one of the most interesting of Donizetti’s first creative season.
At the Donizetti Opera, Zoraida di Granata is presented in a new staging directed by Bruno Ravella, in a co-production with the prestigious Irish festival of Wexford, where, however, it was performed in the 1822 version. On the podium is Alberto Zanardi, a young conductor who has been engaged for years “behind the scenes” at the festival. In the roles of the two lovers, two singers who are steadily growing in success and fame, soprano Zuzana Marková (Zoraida) and mezzo-soprano Cecilia Molinari (Abenamet), while tenor Konu Kim (already in L’ange de Nisida) will be the perfidious Almuzir. Next to them, in the supporting roles, the young talents of Bottega Donizetti. 


The libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli, reworked by Jacopo Ferretti (the former librettist of famous Rossini operas) is based on the novel Golzalve de Cordoue, ou Grenade reconquise by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian and on the libretto that Luigi Romanelli drew from it for the opera Abenamet e Zoraide by Giuseppe Nicolini.
The story takes place in the Moorish kingdom of Granada, in Andalusia. Almuzir has killed the king of the city by usurping his throne and would like to marry his daughter, Zoraida, who nevertheless in in love with Abenamet, head of the Arab aristocratic clan of the Abencerragis. Almuzir then sets a trap for his rival. Having declared war on the Spaniards, he entrusts the command of his army to Abenamet, ordering him to return with the flag. But by deception, Almuzir causes the flag to fall into the hands of his enemies. When Abenamet, although victorious over the Spaniards, returns to Granada without the flag of the kingdom, Almuzir accuses him of treason and has him sentenced to death.  At this point, Zoraida resigns herself to agree to marry Almuzir, obtaining to spare Abenamet’s life in return. Once free, Abenamet discovers what the price of his pardon was and thus rebukes Zoraida for her infidelity. However, the head of Almuzir’s guards, Alì Zegri, overhears the conversation between the two lovers: Abenamet manages to escape, Zoraida is captured, brought before Almuzir, accused of treason and condemned to be burned at the stake, unless a warrior willing to uphold the woman’s innocence in a duel appears. An unknown knight comes forward where the fight is due to take place, challenges Ali Zegri, defeats him, forces him to confess Almuzir’s treacherous plots and finally reveals himself: he is, of course, Abenamet incognito. On hearing the truth, the enraged people demand justice for the king’s actions, but Abenamet defends him, thus saving his life. Struck by such nobility of spirit, Almuzir repents of his hateful machinations and renounces Zoraida’s hand in favour of his rival. The pair of lovers is reunited, and the opera ends with their marriage and Abenamet’s jubilant rondo.

November - 2024


Time and Date:
16 November 2024Turn AH 20:00
24 November 2024 Off subscriptionH 15:30
1 December 2024 Turn CH 15:30
Cost: €16 - €105


Teatro Sociale

Via Bartolomeo Colleoni
Bergamo, Italia


Conductor Alberto Zanardi
Director Bruno Ravella
Scenes and costumes Gary McCann
Lighting design Daniele Naldi

Almuzir Konu Kim
Zoraida Zuzana Marková
Abenamet Cecilia Molinari
and with Students of Bottega Donizetti

Orchestra Gli Originali
Coro dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala
Choirmaster Salvo Sgrò

New production by Fondazione Teatro Donizetti in co-production with Wexford Festival Opera