Bergamo’s Teatro Donizetti and Teatro Sociale are once again hosting Donizetti Opera, the international festival dedicated to the composer from Bergamo with artistic direction by Francesco Micheli and music direction by Riccardo Frizza. New productions, L’elisir d’amore and La fille du régiment by Donizetti and Medea in Corinto by Mayr, will be staged from 18th November to 5th December 2021.

The works by Donizetti are two of the composer’s most famous and frequently performed operas: two fitting chapters which, we hope, will mark the end of the dark months of the pandemic. As always, the studies and research into the legacy and codification of Donizetti’s operatic musical identity, entrusted to the Research Centre of the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti directed by Paolo Fabbri, have played a vital role in preparing the festival programme.    

For L’elisir d’amore (Teatro Donizetti, 19th and 28th November and 5th December), music director Riccardo Frizza will be on the podium conducting the Orchestra “Gli Originali”, established three years ago at the festival with the aim of offering Donizetti’s music with a formation and on instruments dating back to his time, to rediscover sounds, timbre and balance between voices and orchestra as close as possible to the original. The performance, a new production by the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, bears the signature of Frederic Wake-Walker and an “all ladies” team consisting of Federica Parolini (scenery), Daniela Cernigliaro (costumes) and Fiammetta Baldiserri (lighting). First staged in Milan in 1832, L’elisir d’amore is without doubt one of Donizetti’s most significant works and this celebration of regained social life will be taking place in Bergamo with a cast in which celebrities like tenor Javier Camarena (Nemorino) and baritone Roberto Frontali (Dulcamara) perform alongside young singers like baritone Florian Sempey (Belcore) and sopranos Caterina Sala (Adina) and Anaïs Mejías (Giannetta). The Donizetti Opera Chorus will be conducted, as always, by Fabio Tartari.

Riccardo Frizza has said “at last I am conducting the full version of L’elisir d’amore in the city, at the theatre and for the Festival which honour the name of Gaetano Donizetti, Bergamo’s distinguished citizen. I am sure that the audience will be fascinated to discover parts of the score which have always been cut out but which reveal even greater beauty in this endlessly successful work. I am conducting “Gli Originali”, an orchestra made up of authentic original instruments, not replicas of old instruments, a first in Italy for this opera. With these instruments the sound is different, sweeter, more mellow and rounded compared to modern instruments. L’elisir d’amore is a masterpiece in which Donizetti transforms a fully traditional opera buffa into a comedy with characters who have immense psychological and theatrical strength. Yet this opera’s success has also been its downfall. It has become encrusted with bad habits, cuts, ornamentations and effects which have unfortunately become “customary”. Now our Elisir aspires to remove this routine gloss from the opera, restoring proper stylistic awareness”.