Today, in 1848, one of the titans of Italian opera, Gaetano Donizetti, passed away in his native Bergamo at age 51. It would be perhaps more appropriate to say that his body died on this date, as his mind, ravaged by syphilis, had already abandoned him a few years earlier, so much that he had to be institutionalized. Even then, he had very occasional and increasingly rare moments of lucidity.
Particularly touching is the episode in which Gustav Duprez, the creator of Edgardo, visited him near the end of the composer’s life and found him completely catatonic. When the tenor hummed the tune of “Verranno a te sull’aure”, Donizetti’s eyes lit up and he sang along for a few seconds, then plunged into his darkness again.
I am presenting three selections from Donizetti’s career:
“Quel tuo sorriso” (sung by Luciana Serra) from his first true success L’aio nell’imbarazzo, a charming Rossinian opera buffa.
The final rondo of an opera from the composer’s maturity (and my personal favorite Donizetti opera), Lucrezia Borgia, here sung by Mariella Devia.
The protagonist’s aria from the composer’s final opera Dom Sébastien
Now it is your turn to post your favorite Donizetti.