Portrait of the composer Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). Found in the Collection of Museo Teatrale alla Scala. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
75 operas he wrote, the bel canto giant from Bergamo. Seventy-five! Add to that, I quote: 16 symphonies, 19 string quartets, 193 songs, 45 duets, 28 cantatas and some solo concertos, sonatas and chamber music. And how much of all that beauty do we hear these days? An average music lover gets no further than Lucia di Lamermoor, L’Elisir d’amore, Don Pasquale… Perhaps the Tudor triptych (Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux). And, oh yes, La Fille du Regiment, because of all those high Cs in a row.
PIA DE’ TOLOMEI
Set against the backdrop of a war between Florence and Siena, this story by Salvatore Cammarano, author of Maria di Rudenz and Il Trovatore, among others, about a castle lord’s wife unjustly accused of adultery, has been provided by Donizetti with the most beautiful arias and duets.
The cast, with a truly peerless Majella Cullagh as Pia and Manuela Custer as her brother Rodrigo, is, as always at Opera Rara, truly sublime (ORC 30).