Gaetano Donizetti

Italian opera composer. Born 29 November 1797. Died 8 April 1848
Gaetano Donizetti
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1797-11-29
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/b8ecf204-6be8-4041-ab11-6d9971ea2711
Gaetano Donizetti

Gaetano Donizetti Biography (BBC)

Donizetti’s life bears a resemblance to the plot of one of his own operas: a humble birth and years of drudgery, all before the curtain rises. Then after the overture a dizzying ascent to greatness and a final fall into madness. (Although it’s syphilis, not romantic love, that drives this hero mad!)

Born in Bergamo, the son of a man who rose no higher than holding the door at the local pawnshop, Gaetano Donizetti was fortunate enough to find a patron in Simon Mayr, the Maestro di cappella at Bergamo Cathedral. It was Mayr who secured the young Donizetti’s first professional commission, Enrico di Borgogna given in Venice in November 1818. So began 12 years of apprenticeship, with the composer learning his craft first in the opera houses of northern Italy and then from 1822 in Naples, where six years later he was appointed director of the royal theatres.

At last came the first palpable hit, Anna Bolena, Donizetti’s 31st opera, given its premiere in Milan in 1830 and starring two of the most admired singers of the age, Guiditta Pasta and Giovanni Rubini as Anna and Percy. Within a decade Donizetti’s take on the Tudors had conquered Europe and crossed the Atlantic to New York and Rio de Janeiro.

Ever restless as he raced towards impossible deadlines, Donizetti composed 25 operas in the next eight years, including L’elisir d’amore, Lucrezia Borgia, Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux and Lucia di Lammermoor. A consummate craftsman with an ear for what audiences wanted, he shaped his music around his singers and kept the story simple. As he wrote to Jacopo Ferretti, his librettist for Torquato Tasso, ‘Success consists of doing little and making that little beautiful, and of not singing a lot and boring the audience.’ By inclination, perhaps, a radical, Donizetti never outpaced that audience, developing the operatic forms that he had inherited from Rossini rather than reinventing them.

Personal misfortune struck in the late 1830s: Donizetti lost his parents and then his wife Virginia died in childbirth. And weary of the heavy-handed censorship that insisted that royalty should be seen as immaculate, religion inviolable and that anything that might ‘induce loathing or disgust in the spectator’ shunned (the very things that a properly Romantic composer longed to stage), Donizetti decided to go to Paris, which prided itself on being the musical capital of the world. In 1838 the composer accepted an invitation from Rossini to write for the Théâtre-Italien. Marino Faliero, Donizetti’s first Parisian opera wasn’t quite the triumph he had hoped for, but in time he made the city his own. There were comedies – La fille du régiment and Don Pasquale – for the Opéra-Comique and the Théâtre-Italien, and at the Opéra de Paris Les martyrs and Dom Sébastien. In the meantime the composer had been appointed Hofkapellmeister to the Hapsburgs in Vienna.

When his health began to fail Donizetti’s friends diagnosed ‘overwork’. His nephew Andrea came to Paris in January 1846 and finding his uncle irrational and unpredictable agreed with the doctors that he should be placed in a secure institution. The following year Donizetti was taken back to Bergamo where he died on April the 1848. An autopsy reported that the composer who had composed 65 completed operas in 32 years had died of ‘cerebro-spinal syphilis’.

Profile © Christopher Cook

Gaetano Donizetti Biography (Wikipedia)

Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.

Donizetti was born in Bergamo in Lombardy. Although he did not come from a musical background, at an early age he was taken under the wing of composer Simon Mayr who had enrolled him by means of a full scholarship in a school which he had set up. There he received detailed training in the arts of fugue and counterpoint. Mayr was also instrumental in obtaining a place for the young man at the Bologna Academy, where, at the age of 19, he wrote his first one-act opera, the comedy Il Pigmalione, which may never have been performed during his lifetime.

Over the course of his career, Donizetti wrote almost 70 operas. An offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer's ninth opera, led to his move to that city and his residency there which lasted until the production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844. In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti's operas.

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Gaetano Donizetti Tracks

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Gaetano Donizetti
Una furtiva lagrima (L'elisir d'amore)
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Una furtiva lagrima (L'elisir d'amore)
Gaetano Donizetti
Live from the stage at the Biggest Weekend
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Live from the stage at the Biggest Weekend
Gaetano Donizetti
Maria Stuarda (Act 1 - extract)
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Maria Stuarda (Act 1 - extract)
Gaetano Donizetti
Maria Stuarda: Act 2
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Maria Stuarda: Act 2
Gaetano Donizetti
Maria Stuarda: Act 1
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Maria Stuarda: Act 1
Gaetano Donizetti
Spirto gentil (La favorita)
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Spirto gentil (La favorita)

Spirto gentil (La favorita)

Orchestra
Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma
Last played on
Gaetano Donizetti
Concertino in G major for cor anglais
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Concertino in G major for cor anglais

Concertino in G major for cor anglais

Orchestra
Orchestra of Padua and The Veneto
Gaetano Donizetti
Spargi d'amaro pianto (Lucia di Lammermoor: Act 3, Sc 2)
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Spargi d'amaro pianto (Lucia di Lammermoor: Act 3, Sc 2)

Spargi d'amaro pianto (Lucia di Lammermoor: Act 3, Sc 2)

Conductor
John Pritchard
Orchestra
Academia di Santa Cecilia Rome
Gaetano Donizetti
Una furtiva lagrima (L'Elisir d'amore: Act 2, Sc 2)
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Una furtiva lagrima (L'Elisir d'amore: Act 2, Sc 2)
Gaetano Donizetti
La Favorite, Act 4
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La Favorite, Act 4
Gaetano Donizetti
La Favorite, Act 3
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La Favorite, Act 3
Gaetano Donizetti
La Favorite, Act 2
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La Favorite, Act 2
Gaetano Donizetti
La Favorite, Act 1
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La Favorite, Act 1
Gaetano Donizetti
Quel guardo il cavaliere, Norina's Cavatina from Act 1, scene 2 of Don Pasquale
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Quel guardo il cavaliere, Norina's Cavatina from Act 1, scene 2 of Don Pasquale
Gaetano Donizetti
Liqueur traîtresse (Le Duc d'Albe)
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Liqueur traîtresse (Le Duc d'Albe)
Gaetano Donizetti
'Quando rapito in estasi' (Lucia di Lammermoor, Act 1)
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'Quando rapito in estasi' (Lucia di Lammermoor, Act 1)
Gaetano Donizetti
'Quanto amore! Ed io, spietata' (L'Elisir d'Amore, Act 2)
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'Quanto amore! Ed io, spietata' (L'Elisir d'Amore, Act 2)

'Quanto amore! Ed io, spietata' (L'Elisir d'Amore, Act 2)

Orchestra
Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York
Conductor
Domingo Hindoyan
Last played on
Gaetano Donizetti
Il Sospiro
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Il Sospiro
Gaetano Donizetti
Ugo Conte di Parigi: Sinfonia
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Ugo Conte di Parigi: Sinfonia
Gaetano Donizetti
L' Elisir D'Amore - Opera In 2 Acts
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L' Elisir D'Amore - Opera In 2 Acts

L' Elisir D'Amore - Opera In 2 Acts

Ensemble
Orchestre Et Choeur De L'Opéra National De Lyon
Conductor
Gaetano Donizetti
Air de danse (Les martyrs)
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Air de danse (Les martyrs)
Gaetano Donizetti
String Quartet No.7 in F minor, 3rd Mvt: Presto
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String Quartet No.7 in F minor, 3rd Mvt: Presto
Gaetano Donizetti
'Oh faithful Talbot!' from Mary Stuart
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'Oh faithful Talbot!' from Mary Stuart

'Oh faithful Talbot!' from Mary Stuart

Orchestra
English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Gaetano Donizetti
Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart): Aria. 'Once all the radiant joys of youth'
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Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart): Aria. 'Once all the radiant joys of youth'
Gaetano Donizetti
Overture (La Fille du regiment)
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Overture (La Fille du regiment)
Gaetano Donizetti
Lucrezia Borgia: Act 2
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Lucrezia Borgia: Act 2

Lucrezia Borgia: Act 2

Singer
Ildar Abdrazakov
Krassimira Stoyanova
Juan Diego Flórez
Teresa Iervolino
Mingjie Lei
Ilker Arcayürek
Gleb Peryazev
Ilya Kutyukin
Andrew Haji
Andrzej Filończyk
Gordon Binter
Gaetano Donizetti
Lucrezia Borgia: Act 1
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Lucrezia Borgia: Act 1

Lucrezia Borgia: Act 1

Singer
Ildar Abdrazakov
Krassimira Stoyanova
Juan Diego Flórez
Teresa Iervolino
Mingjie Lei
Ilker Arcayürek
Gleb Peryazev
Ilya Kutyukin
Andrew Haji
Andrzej Filończyk
Gordon Binter
Gaetano Donizetti
Lucrezia Borgia: Prologue
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Lucrezia Borgia: Prologue

Lucrezia Borgia: Prologue

Singer
Ildar Abdrazakov
Krassimira Stoyanova
Juan Diego Flórez
Teresa Iervolino
Mingjie Lei
Ilker Arcayürek
Gleb Peryazev
Ilya Kutyukin
Andrew Haji
Andrzej Filończyk
Gordon Binter
Gaetano Donizetti
String Quartet no. 17 in D major
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String Quartet no. 17 in D major
Gaetano Donizetti
Una furtiva lagrima (L'elisir d'amore)
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Una furtiva lagrima (L'elisir d'amore)
Gaetano Donizetti
Lucia Di Lammermoor: Spargi d'amaro pianto (Opera Seria In 3 Acts)
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Lucia Di Lammermoor: Spargi d'amaro pianto (Opera Seria In 3 Acts)
Gaetano Donizetti
Edgar's aria ('Lucia di Lammermoor')
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Edgar's aria ('Lucia di Lammermoor')
Gaetano Donizetti
Fra poco a me ricovero (Lucia di Lammermoor)
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Fra poco a me ricovero (Lucia di Lammermoor)
Gaetano Donizetti
La Fille de Regiment - Overture
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La Fille de Regiment - Overture
Gaetano Donizetti
Like a drifter in the pictures, from The Elixir of Love
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Like a drifter in the pictures, from The Elixir of Love
Gaetano Donizetti
Sogno soave e casto (Don Pasquale, Act 1 Scene 1)
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Sogno soave e casto (Don Pasquale, Act 1 Scene 1)

Sogno soave e casto (Don Pasquale, Act 1 Scene 1)

Singer
Rolando Villazón
Ildar Abdrazakov
Orchestra
Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal
Gaetano Donizetti
Ah! Un foco insolito
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Ah! Un foco insolito
Gaetano Donizetti
Ancor non giunse! (Lucia di Lammermoor)
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Ancor non giunse! (Lucia di Lammermoor)
Gaetano Donizetti
Donizetti: La Fille de Regiment (Act Two)
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Donizetti: La Fille de Regiment (Act Two)
Gaetano Donizetti
La Fille du regiment: "Ah, mes amis"
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La Fille du regiment: "Ah, mes amis"
Gaetano Donizetti
Sinfonia for wind instruments in G minor
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Sinfonia for wind instruments in G minor

Sinfonia for wind instruments in G minor

Ensemble
Bratislavska Komorna Harmonia
Gaetano Donizetti
Lucia di Lammermor, "Chi mi frena in tal momento"
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Lucia di Lammermor, "Chi mi frena in tal momento"

Lucia di Lammermor, "Chi mi frena in tal momento"

Performer
Luciano Pavarotti, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Richard Bonynge (Conductor)
Gaetano Donizetti
Seul sur la terre (Dom Sébastien)
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Seul sur la terre (Dom Sébastien)
Gaetano Donizetti
Nemorino's romance, from 'L'Elisir d'amore'
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Nemorino's romance, from 'L'Elisir d'amore'
Gaetano Donizetti
Tombe degli avi miei ... Fra poco a me ricovero - Lucia di Lammermoor
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Tombe degli avi miei ... Fra poco a me ricovero - Lucia di Lammermoor
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