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  • “Enrico di Borgogna”: the 200 year-old opera at the Teatro Sociale

    “Enrico di Borgogna”: the 200 year-old opera at the Teatro Sociale

    As part of the #donizetti200 project, the title will star Anna Bonitatibus, Sonia Ganassi, Levy Sekgapane and Luca Tittoto, with Alessandro De Marchi on the podium for Academia Montis Regalis.

    Bergamo, Teatro Sociale, Friday 22nd November, 8.30pm

    Enrico di Borgogna is the first opera to be staged in the fourth edition of Bergamo’s International Donizetti Opera Festival. For this new performance, at the Teatro Sociale, on Friday 22nd November 2018, at 8.30pm, co-produced with the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, the direction is led by Silvia Paoli, while Alessandro De Marchi and his Academia Montis Regalis are responsible for the musical reading according to the critical revision by Anders Wiklund.

    For this rarity, the festival boasts leading vocal performers Anna Bonitatibus, Sonia Ganassi, Levy Sekgapane and Luca Tittoto, with the Donizetti Opera Choir directed by Fabio Tartari, scenography by Andrea Belli, costumes by Valeria Bettella, and lights by Fiammetta Baldisseri.

    Debuting in the role of the protagonist of Enrico di Borgogna, the mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus will greet admirers after the opera wearing jewellery by D’orica, a goldsmith’s of excellence, which, this year, forms part of the ‘Ambasciatori di Donizetti’ (Ambassadors of Donizetti). As part of the Donizetti Opera Festival, D’orica will also present its new jewellery collection entitled Treesure, precious and exclusive items that combine the art of goldsmithery with that of silk entirely produced in Italy.

    The performance of Enrico di Borgogna is linked to the project #donizetti200, marking 200 years from the young composer from Bergamo’s entry into musical society, on the occasion of the opening, in 1818, of what is now Venice’s Goldoni Theatre. “At the noble theatre Vendramin at San Luca, newly refurbished, and repainted, will take place tonight the first performance of the opera ‘Enrico di Borgogna’; poetry by Mr. Bartolommeo Merelli, and the first musical opera by Mr. Donizetti, a student of the Bologna school”, announced the newspaper ‘Il Nuovo Osservatore Veneziano’ (The New Venetian Observer) on 14th November 1818, regarding the radical refurbishment and reopening of the then San Luca Theatre, which is today’s Teatro Goldoni.

    Training first in Bergamo with Mayr, and then in Bologna with Father Mattei, Donizetti had thus far only written music for salons and academies or for the church, and only occasionally brief theatrical numbers. Then, for the first time ever, on the evening of 14th November, he presented an opera of his own, a semi-serious title with verses by the Bergamasco Merelli, another student of Mayr, with the audience applauding the symphony and several numbers of the opera. At the end, “The audience, at the falling of the curtain, wanted, among the applause, to salute Mr. Donizetti on the stage”, commented ‘Il Nuovo Osservatore Veneziano’ (The New Venetian Observer). It was a credit of trust, since perhaps only two-thirds of the opera had actually been heard, due to the fact that the debuting prima donna had fainted at the end of the first act, and been replaced by a stand-in, with the omission of three or perhaps four of her numbers in the second act.

    Due to these events, the second recital came only a month later, on the 15th of December, and, finally, the public had the opportunity to hear all the music of Enrico di Borgogna, again applauded, and found to be “Regular, reasoned, and opportunely lively and playful”, as well as quite immune to the clamour of the modern orchestra, a virtue in the eyes of the reviewer from the ‘Il Nuovo Osservatore Veneziano’ (The New Venetian Observer). “Does this debutant have ‘originality’?”, asked the journalist, before setting the question aside. Now, after the recent discovery in Copenhagen of another manuscript score of this work, in addition to that of Venetian origin known of up to that point, and today conserved in Paris, came the launch of Donizetti Opera Festival’s #donizetti200 project, which allows us to experience it in its entirety, so that can have our own opinion, not so much on the originality or otherwise of a debutante work, an unfair and perhaps even futile question, but on its models and their implementation.

    Friday 23rd November h 8.30 pm (Shift A)

    Sunday 25th November ore 15.30 (Turno C)

    Saturday 1th December ore 20.30 (Off subscription)

    Teatro Sociale



    Melodrama for music by Bartolomeo Merelli

    Music by Gaetano Donizetti

    First performance in Venice, Vendramin San Luca Theatre, 14th November 1818
    Critical revision by Anders Wiklund

    Enrico Anna Bonitatibus
    Pietro Francesco Castoro
    Elisa Sonia Ganassi
    Guido Levy Sekgapane
    Gilberto Luca Tittolo
    Brunone Lorenzo Barbieri
    Nicola Matteo Mezzaro
    Gertrude Federica Vitali

    Conductor Alessandro De Marchi
    Directed by Silvia Paoli
    Scenes Andrea Belli
    Costumes Valeria Donata Bettella
    Lighting design Fiammetta Baldiserri
    Director’s assistant Tecla Gucci
    Choirmaster Fabio Tartari

    Accademia Montis Regalis
    Coro Donizetti Opera

    New production by Fondazione Donizetti
    in collaboration with Fondazione Teatro La Fenice di Venezia