Just about to complete his education at the Naples Conservatory, Bellini wrote at twenty four his first opera, the dramma semiserio Adelson e Salvini.
Using a libretto by Andrea Leone Tortola, already put on stage in 1815 by composer Valentino Fioravanti, Bellini just worked on this for a few months.
In 17th century Ireland, we are at Lord Adelson's (baritone) castle. Roman painter Salvini (tenor) is passionately in love with Adelson's fiancée, Nelly (soprano). An old enemy of the Adelson family, Struley (bass), takes advantage of this situation, and forges a letter from Adelson to a girl from London, so Salvini can convince Nelly to escape with him to Italy. Fortunately, the plot is discovered, Salvini shoots Struley, Adelson and Nelly get married and Salvini is engaged with Adelson's ward, Fanny (mezzo).
The opera was very well considered in the Conservatory, and impresario Domenico Barbaja decided to commission an opera from Bellini, the future Bianca e Gernando. Bellini even revised Adelson in 1829, for a staging that never happened. In fact, aside from the Naples conservatory performances, the opera was never staged until 1985 in Catania.
Clearly, this is not a masterpiece, but it's a good effort, and even better, in my opinion, that an Oberto or Donizetti's first operas.
Let's hear the overture. After a brief fanfare, there is a melody that Bellini will reuse in Il Pirata.
In the 1829 revised version, Bellini wrote for Salvini this delightful "Ecco, signor, la sposa", when he delivers Nelly to his fiancé, Adelson, that also inspired some music for Valdeburgo in La Straniera:
But, of course, the most interesting piece of the opera is this romanza in F minor for Nelly, "Dopo l'oscuro nembo", that will be recalled in I Capuleti e i Montecchi: