GIUSEPPE PENNISI is impressed by
Donizetti's religious opera
'Linda di Chamounix'
Probably only a few M&V readers will be aware that Gaetano Donizetti composed a religious opera, very successful in the mid nineteenth century but since then almost forgotten. It is the seldom performed Linda di Chamounix commissioned by the Vienna Imperial Theatre, where it was premiered on 19 May 1842. It was such a tremendous success that Donizetti was appointed Court Composer and Kapellemeister of the Imperial Chapel (where he composed quite a lot of sacred music).
Linda di Chamounix was often staged in many European countries until the second half of the nineteenth century; there are editions not only in the original Italian language but also in French and German. It is a 'semi-serious' opera: a pathetic plot is intertwined with moments of comic relief until a happy ending. This genre was quite popular in Italy and France in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Thereafter, Verdi's melodrama in Italy and grand-opéra in France swept it away with the steam of road rollers. In the mid and late nineteenth century, the audience required stronger emotions than those of melancholic 'semi-serious' operas. After World War II, two important Italian conductors, Tullio Serafin and Gianandrea Gavazzeni revived Linda di Chamounix because they believed in its musical quality. It landed in Rome on 17 June 2016 for the first revival in one hundred and three years. I was in the audience. The opera was co-produced with the Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona.
Copyright © 23 June 2016 Giuseppe Pennisi,