Gaetano Donizetti

Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti ( born November 29, 1797 in Bergamo, Italy today, † April 8, 1848 ) was an Italian composer. He is one of the most important opera composers of bel canto. Some of his operas such as L' elisir d' amore ( The Elixir of Love ), Lucia di Lammermoor, Anna Bolena and Don Pasquale belong in modern times the global standard repertoire of opera houses.


Gaetano Donizetti studied under Simon Mayr at Bergamo and Padre Mattei in Bologna and devoted himself to the early church in the strict compositional style.

After returning to his native city in 1814, where he held the position of a bass player and archivist at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, he turned to the opera. Five years later he brought his first opera, Enrico di borgonja in Venice to the performance. Although they liked, but excited as little a stir as 19 other operas he wrote from 1818 to 1828 (L' ajo nell'imbarazzo, Elvida, Alfredo il Grande, Olivo e Pasquale, Alahor in Granada, Chiara e Serafino and Others. ). Only with Esule di Roma, listed in 1828 in Naples, he gained a certain notoriety.

In rapid succession now appeared in Genoa Alina, regina di Golconda, in Naples Gianni di Calais, Il grasso giovedì; also Il pariah, Il castello di Kenilworth, Il diluvio universal, Francesca di Foix, Imeldade Lambertazzi, La romanziera inter alia, all of Naples.

A new period in Donizetti's work ushered in the tragic opera Anna Bolena, which he wrote in 1830 for Milan. It was followed by perhaps his most famous opera L' elisir d' amore (1832 ) and Lucia di Lammermoor (1835 ). Lesser known works from this period are Fausta, Il Furioso, and Parisina.

Donizetti had meanwhile been appointed Kapellmeister and teacher of composition at the conservatory in Naples in 1834, in 1836 it was also the professor of counterpoint and in 1838, by Niccolò Antonio Zingarellis death, director of the Institute. He gave up this position in 1840, the second time around to try his luck in Paris, this time with greater success. He found both in the Grand Opera with his La favorite and at the Komische Oper with La fille du régiment enthusiastic applause, even if not at the first performances.

After Donizetti had his 1842 Linda di Chamounix composed for Vienna, he was appointed Austrian Kapellmeister. He then left for the third time to Paris and brought there in 1843 to Don Pasquale on stage. 1844 premiered the Caterina Cornaro in Naples.

1843 began exhibiting the first symptoms of neurosyphilis. His health deteriorated rapidly, and due to severe intellectual impairments had to be housed in Paris in the madhouse of Ivry- sur -Seine. From his nephew Andrea, he was returned to Bergamo, where he died on April 8, 1848 at 17.30 clock. Three days later, his coffin was carried through the city, accompanied by three bands, 400 torchbearers and up to 4000 people.

After the death

The coffin Donizetti was laid in the family chapel of the noble family of Bergamo Pezzoli to rest. When they dug him in September 1875 again to bury him in a purpose-built for him by his brothers monument, it was found that his skull was missing. This was found in the legacy of a now deceased doctor of a mental hospital in the area. Since some citizens were of the opinion that " desecrated " skull should not be in a church, you spent your head in the " Donizetti Museum ." In May 1951, the skull was placed with the rest of the skeleton. His grave is in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo.


A total of 71 operas have been documented Donizetti. Of these, a number of early works, such as Olimpiade (1817 ) and L' ira d' Achille (1817 ) have been lost. A complete performance tradition since the premiere is only in L' elisir d' amore (1832 ), Lucia di Lammermoor (1835 ), La fille du régiment (1840 ) and Don Pasquale (1843 ). The other operas of Donizetti came either equal to or after the first performance from the mid-19th century into oblivion and were then given only occasionally. It was not until about 100 years later, a number of Donizetti 's operas were during the bel canto Renaissance rediscovered who regularly find themselves since then in the repertory of opera houses again, including in particular the so-called Tudor operas Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux, and Lucrezia Borgia, La favorite, Linda di Chamounix and Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali or Viva la mamma! . Since the 1980s, but it is made by almost all sound recordings, also from the rarely performed operas.

Early phase

  • Il Pigmalione (established in 1816; premiere October 13, 1960, Teatro Donizetti, Bergamo)
  • Enrico di borgonja (14 November 1818 Teatro San Luca, Venice)
  • Una follia (17 December 1818 Teatro San Luca, Venice, lost)
  • Le nozze in villa (1821, Teatro Vecchio, Mantua )
  • Il falegname di Livonia, ossia Pietro il grande (26 December 1819 Teatro San Samuele, Venice)
  • Zoraïda di Granata (28 January 1822 Teatro Argentino, Rome)
  • La Zingara (May 12, 1822, Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • La lettera anonima (29 June 1822 Teatro del Fondo, Naples)
  • Chiara e Serafina, ossia I pirati (October 26, 1822, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Alfredo il Grande ( July 2, 1823, Teatro San Carlo, Naples)
  • Il fortunato inganno (3 September 1823 Teatro Nuovo, Naples) Zoraïda di Granata, revised version (January 7, 1824 Teatro Argentino, Rome)
  • Olivo e Pasquale, revised version (September 1, 1827 Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • Emilia di Liverpool, revised version (March 8, 1828 Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • Alina, regina di Golconda, revised version (October 10, 1829 Teatro Valle, Rome)

Middle phase

  • Anna Bolena (26 December 1830 Teatro Carcano, Milan) Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali or Viva la mamma! , Revised version of Le convenienze teatrali (20 April 1831 Teatro Canobbiana, Milan)
  • Otto mesi in due ore, revised version (1833, Livorno )
  • Il diluvio universal, revised version (January 17, 1834 Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa )
  • Maria Stuarda (30 December 1835 Teatro alla Scala, Milan, original version )

Late phase

  • Belisario (4 February 1836 Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • Il campanello di notte (June 1, 1836 Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • Betly, o La capanna svizzera (21 August 1836 Teatro Nuovo, Naples)
  • L' assedio di Calais (19 November 1836 Teatro San Carlo, Naples)
  • Pia de ' Tolomei (18 February 1837 Teatro Apollo, Venice) Pia de ' Tolomei, revised version (July 31, 1837 Sinigaglia )
  • Betly, revised version (29 September 1837 Teatro del Fondo, Naples)
  • Gabriella di Vergy, revised version (1838, recorded in London in 1978 on vinyl )
  • Pia de ' Tolomei, 2nd revised version (30 September 1838 Teatro San Carlo, Naples)
  • Lucie de Lammermoor, revised version (August 6, 1839 Théâtre de la Renaissance, Paris)
  • Lucrezia Borgia, revised version (January 11, 1840 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Les martyrs, revised version of Poliuto ( April 10, 1840, Opéra, Paris)
  • Elisabetta (1853, edited version of Otto mesi in due ore by Uranio Fontana, December 16, 1997 Royal Albert Hall, London)
  • Lucrezia Borgia, 2nd revised version (October 31, 1840 Théâtre-Italien, Paris)
  • La favorite, revised version of L' ange de Nisida (2 December 1840 Opéra, Paris)
  • Linda di Chamounix, revised version (November 17, 1842 Théâtre-Italien, Paris)
  • Dom Sébastien, revised version (February 6, 1845 Kärntnertortheater, Vienna)
  • Caterina Cornaro (February 2, 1845 Teatro Regio, Parma, Version 2)