• Rare Donizetti opera live in Raleigh, NC

    Donizetti's Il Campanello di Notte was presented by Capitol Opera Raleigh on January 12, at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, at Kenan Recital Hall of William Peace University on 15 East Peace Street, Raleigh, NC, with piano accompaniment.

    For more information about the company, click [here], or call 717-303-9030 - visit the site periodically to be aware of future productions.

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    Capitol Opera Raleigh

    Capitol Opera Raleigh has reset the count of the number of opera companies in North Carolina to six, after Long Leaf Opera closed down. Its first production was on October 11, 2011 (Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne + a Mozart concert), and the second one was Mozart's The Impresario on May 19, 2012. This opera by Donizetti will be the company's third production.



    The company which had existed before - for fourteen years - has been relaunched in 2011 after a hiatus. Its founder and leader is Kathleen Torchia. Capitol Opera Raleigh provides performance opportunities to local instrumentalists, actors, singers, dancers, technicians and students. Interested artists should email capitolopera2004@yahoo.com. The company aims at fostering local and/or developing artists, and at bringing affordable opera to the community at large. It is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, and is part of a network of five similar community opera companies with the same name, the other four being in Harrisburg, PA, Sacramento, CA, Albany, NY, and Richmond, VA. They survive exclusively through ticket sales and donations, and make a point of producing relatively obscure operas.

    This is a remarkable initiative. We'd love to see it thrive. So, dear reader, if you are at driving distance, please attend the future performances of this company, and consider making a donation.

    Donizetti's Il Campanello di Notte

    The opera Il Campanello di Notte (The Night Bell) is a melodrama giocoso in one act, premiered on June 1, 1836, with libretto by the composer himself, based on Mathieu-Barthélemy Troin Brunswick and Victor Lhérie's French vaudeville La sonnette de nuit.

    While it is rarely presented, it has had at least four productions in the United States, in Philadelphia and New York in 1861, then in New York in 1917, in New York again in 1996, and in Santa Fe in 2007. It is set in early 19th Century Naples.

    Donizetti composed this opera nine months after Lucia di Lammermoor. While Lucia opened at San Carlo, this more modest piece was premiered at Il Teatro Nuovo.

    Synopsis:

    Don Annibale Pistacchio, an old Neapolitan pharmacist, is marrying Serafina, a beautiful and much younger girl. Annibale is apprehensive because he will have to leave his bride in the morning to travel to Rome in a long trip, so he is in a hurry to consummate his marriage with the girl. Enrico who is Serafina's former lover is bent on sabotaging his plans by presenting to the pharmacy in various disguises - for example, as an operatic singer who is due to sing the next night but has a sore throat, as a Frenchman, and as an old man with a preposterous list of prescriptions to fill for his wife. By law, Pistacchio must attend to Enrico's calls, which keeps him from ever entering the bridal chambers. There are some happenings involving mistaken identity, as well as some admoestations from Serafina's mother Madama Rosa, and some comedic moments with Spiridione, Don Annibale's servant. Finally the whole night goes by and the pharmacist leaves Serafina to travel to Rome, making many recommendations that she shouldn't open the door if someone comes knocking, "no, no, no," to which Enrico says in an aside, "yes, yes, yes" implying before the curtain falls that with the husband out of town, he'll resume his affair with the young woman.

    The opera is known for Annibale's sunny and joyous cavatina 'Bella Cosa, Amici Cari,' which is a fine buffo piece, in which he sings of his future happiness with Serafina. It starts with a parlando cantabile in ABA structure, as the bass praises the beauty and the virtue of his future wife; then there is a brisk cabaletta, in which the old pharmacist daydreams of how "Naples will be overrun with little Pistacchios".

    Numbers:

    1. Intro e Chor: 'Evviva Don Annibale!'
    2. Cavatina: 'Bella Cosa, Amici Cari'
    3. Recitativo: 'Amici, Se Ballar Volete Ancora'
    4. Galoppa e Scena: 'Ebben? Siete Gia Stanco?'
    5. Duetto: 'Non Fuggir; T'arresta, Ingrata!'
    6. Recitativo: 'Ecco Lo Sposo; A Noi!'
    7. Brindisi: 'Mesci, Mesci e Sperda Il Vento'
    8. Recitativo: 'Ormai Basta, O Signori'
    9. Duetto: 'Ho Una Bella, Un'infedele'
    10. Recitativo: 'Ah! Cane Di Un Cantante!'
    11. Duetto: 'Mio Signore Venerato'
    12. Recitativo: 'Or Venga Pure Il Campanello Giu...'
    13. Terzettino Finale: 'Da Me Lungi Ancor Vivendo'

    Libretto:

    The full libretto in Italian can be found [here], with side by side Spanish translation (no English).

    Discography:

    The opera has deserved three CD recordigns, one of them with Agnes Baltsa in 1983 (CBS - Wiener Staatsoper), one with Leo Nucci in 1995 (BMG Ricordi - Teatro Regio di Torino), and the third one in 1996 (Newport Classics - Manhattan School of Music). Two other recordings available as MP3 downloads from other houses also exist (Radiotelevisione Italiana, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino). On Amazon.com, the Manhattan School of Music CD is still available, for about $10 used, $16 new plus $3 shipping, [here].



    Video Clips:

    Here is the cavatina, with bass Enzo Dara:



    Bella cosa, amici cari,
    bella cosa è cangiar stato;
    quando l'uomo s'è ammogliato
    uom divien di qualità.
    Chi trovato ha una ragazza,
    bella e buona come questa,
    più non teme per la testa,
    sempre allegro se ne sta.
    Già parmi d'essere
    padre beato
    già veggo i bamboli
    sedermi a lato.
    L'un vorrà pillole,
    l'altro pagnotte;
    ciascun chiamandomi
    il dì e la notte:
    "Papà io voglio pillole! "
    "Papà ed io pagnotte! "
    In essi il tenero
    padre felice
    come fenice
    rinascerà.
    E tutta Napoli
    pien di pistacchi
    in breve spazio
    si troverà.

    Here is the duet 'Ho Una Bella, Un'infedele' with Annibale and Enrico (Enzo Dara and Angelo Romano):



    Ho una bella, un'infedele,
    ch'ama un altro, ed io l'adoro.
    Son geloso, e la crudele
    gode sol del mio martoro!
    Ai balconi suoi d'intorno
    giro sempre notte e giorno,
    e scirocco, e tramontana
    m'han servito come va.

    DON ANNIBALE
    Se volete il mio giudizio
    per levarvi d'imbarazzo,
    per fuggire il precipizio
    e de' venti lo strapazzo
    o al momento la sposate,
    o al momento la lasciate.
    Tal rimedio gola e testa
    risanare vi potrà.

    ENRICO
    (quasi piangendo)
    Ma frattanto il mio debutto?...

    DON ANNIBALE
    Non sarà poi tanto brutto.
    Le mie pillole potranno...

    (andandole a prendere nell'armadio)

    ENRICO
    Date, date, date, date.

    DON ANNIBALE
    Ma...

    ENRICO
    Proverò...

    DON ANNIBALE
    Sentite...

    ENRICO
    Proverò...

    DON ANNIBALE
    Ma prima...

    ENRICO
    Proverò.

    (prende la scatola delle pillole e le inghiotte tutte
    in una volta)

    DON ANNIBALE
    (fra sè)
    Che ti venga un buon malanno
    tutte quante le ingoiò

    ENRICO
    (dopo aver provata la voce)
    "Or che in ciel alta è la notte,
    senza stelle e senza luna,
    non ti turbin fonde rotte
    della placida laguna.
    Dormi, o bella, mentr'io canto
    la canzone del piacer".

    DON ANNIBALE
    Ma, dico... è tardi... Buona notte.
    Che partiste avrei piacer.

    ENRICO
    Eh! son rauco nuovamente!
    La dose ripetete.

    DON ANNIBALE
    Auf. Ma dopo partirete.

    ENRICO
    Se guarisco partirò.

    (gli dà altre pillole)

    DON ANNIBALE
    Che vi pare?

    ENRICO
    Non plus ultra
    già la voce ritornò... Uh... Uh...
    Al mio debutto assisterete,
    de' miei gorgheggi giudicherete
    di mie volate semitonate
    di sbalzi orribili ch'io prenderò.
    Cose impossibili sentir farò.

    DON ANNIBALE
    Se presto, presto
    non ve n'andate
    verrà una pioggia
    di bastonate.
    Siete un seccante
    signor cantante,
    più la mia collera
    frenar non so.

    The opera can be seen in its entirety (1h17') on YouTube, in a rather amateur-level performance with piano accompaniment and no subtitles:



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    Brief Review

    Il Campanello di Note, drama giocoso in one act, music and libretto by Gaetano Donizetti

    Produced by Kathleen Torchia. Directed by Stephanie Thurm. Pianist Kent Lyman.
    Set/Prop Design Mark Jensen. Production Assistant Faith Houck

    Cast:

    Sopranos singing Serafina: Andrea Howland & Kristin Moye
    Baritone singing Enrico: Kurt Melges
    Mezzo-Sopranos singing Madama Rosa: Monifa Harrisb & Andrea Hayde
    Tenor singing Spiridione: Joseph Ittoop
    Bass singing Don Annibile: Jeffrey Carlson

    Opera Lively attended the 2 PM show. It was a semi-staged performance (with some pieces of furniture and props), sung in Italian, with English supertitles. The short opera itself was very enjoyable, with some rather funny moments and beautiful music, with the above numbers being the most notable, plus some coloratura arias for Serafina. There were some cuts, bringing the duration of the complete score down to a bit less than 60 minutes. The artists showed good comedic flair and nice acting skills. The highlight of the cast for the sake of his competent singing was bass Jeffrey Carlson. The piano reduction of the score was well played by Kent Lyman.

    Here are some pictures of the event.


    Jeffrey Carlson, Andrea Howland - © Luiz Gazzola / Opera Lively


    Karen Hayden, Andrea Howland, Jeffrey Carlson - © Luiz Gazzola / Opera Lively


    Karen Haydne, Joseph Ittoop, Kurt Melges - © Luiz Gazzola / Opera Lively


    Kurt Melges, Andrea Howland - © Luiz Gazzola / Opera Lively


    Karen Haydn, Joseph Ittoop, Kurt Melges, Jeffrey Carlosn, Andrea Howland - © Luiz Gazzola / Opera Lively


    Karen Haydn, Andrea Howland, Jeffrey Carlosn, Joseph Ittoop, Kurt Melges - © Luiz Gazzola / Opera Lively

    Hopefully Capitol Opera Raleigh will continue to bring interesting productions to the North Carolina Triangle for many years to come. Ms. Torchia told Opera Lively that the company is a labor of love, and we wish her all the best.

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