Lucia di Lammermoor is undoubtedly, with L’elisir d’amore, Gaetano Donizetti’s most famous opera and the most performed in the world. Thanks to a donation from the Perolari family in 1985, the city of Bergamo was able to acquire the autograph score of this opera, premiered at the San Carlo Theater in Naples in 1835. The score is kept at the Mai Library. In a few weeks, this precious manuscript will for the first time cross the ocean to be exhibited at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York directed by Fabio Finotti on the occasion of the highly anticipated new production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera. The production will be directed by Riccardo Frizza, also musical director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo.
“Lucia di Lammermoor is a masterpiece – remarks Fabio Finotti, director of the ICI in New York – both in the original novel by Walter Scott and in the adaptation by Donizetti. It confronts us with questions of a burning news: women, their silences, their suffering, and the censorship they have imposed on themselves for centuries. Lucia di Lammermoor is in a way Freud before Freud. The Italian Cultural Institute of New York is therefore proud to host the guarantee of a universal masterpiece.
“Thanks to this invitation from ICI – says Nadia Ghisalberti, Councilor for Culture of the Municipality of Bergamo – the autograph manuscript of the score by Lucia di Lammermoor, a precious heritage of the city of Bergamo, preserved with care, expertise and love at the Civic Library, will fly to New York, and become a tangible testimony to the great music of Gaetano Donizetti and an ambassador for the world of melodrama, a facet of Italian culture for which we are universally praised. the story of the city of the great composer, which in 2023 will be the Italian capital of culture.”
“It is an extraordinary occasion, – says Maria Elisabetta Manca, head of the Municipal Library and the “Angelo Mai” Historical Archive of Bergamo – because Donizetti’s manuscript, which is rarely exhibited in the city, is on its first loan The Library has preserved it since 1985, when the Perolari family of Bergamo generously donated it, and it represents one of the most precious specimens of our immense musical collection which includes more than 50,000 manuscripts and engravings, several hundred musical booklets and sound documents as well as an extensive bibliography on music.”
On April 21, at the premises of ICI on Park Avenue, a round table will be organized with the participation of Riccardo Frizza, musical director of the Donizetti Opera Festival, and the contribution of some videos prepared in Bergamo showing Bergamo and the treasures of the “Library Angelo Mai”.
It will also be an opportunity to present the critical edition of Lucia di Lammermoor edited by Gabriele Dotto – who will be at HERE – and Roger Parker, published a few months ago by Ricordi as part of the national edition created with the collaboration and contribution of the Municipality of Bergamo and the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti.
The manuscript, consisting of 181 sheets bound in a volume of 370×270 mm, will be exhibited inside a special air-conditioned showcase specially created by Arterìa – a leading company in Italy for the packaging, transport and installation of works of art – in full compliance with the prescriptions for the protection of the property.
Donizetti’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera will premiere Saturday, April 23, with eight additional performances through Saturday, May 21. The Saturday, May 21 performance will also be televised live to cinemas around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD series and broadcast live on the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network. Australian director Simon Stone makes his Met debut with a staging that places classic opera in modern America, with soprano Nadine Sierra in the title role opposite tenor Javier Camarena – well known to Donizetti Opera audiences Festival – as Edgardo.
The documentation of the exhibition of the manuscript score of Lucia di Lammermoor in New York, as well as the textual contributions in preparation, as well as videos and in-depth studies, will also be available on the stanzeitaliane.it platform, which is the virtual museum of the ICI for a year: a way of making the whole of the documentary work available to scholars and the public who cannot be in New York.
Gaetano Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor. Tragic drama for the Regio Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, summer 1835; text by Salvatore Cammarano. Autograph score of 181 bound sheets – (Cassaf. 6.12).
Already during the premiere of the opera at the Teatro San Carlo on September 26, 1835, Lucia di Lammermoor’s autograph score was acquired by the Neapolitan publisher Guglielmo Cottrau, partner of Giuseppe Girard. At that time, the Neapolitan publisher owned all the operas performed at the Neapolitan Teatro San Carlo and Teatro Nuovo, since he was also the contractor of the typing office in charge of copying the parts for the performers. For a century, therefore, the score of Donizetti’s opera remained in the possession of the publishing house. In 1866, a handwritten annotation and a stamp affixed to the front of the first sheet of paper served to certify the authenticity of the work for copyright purposes. This followed the law of June 20, 1865 (the first unitary Italian copyright law) and Royal Decree No. 2439 of July 29, 1865. The central administration body responsible for this matter was the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, within which a Bureau of Property’ operated. In 1935, Giovanni Treccani degli Alfieri bought the precious manuscript from the heirs of the publishers Girard and Cottrau, through the former bookseller Casella in Naples, before it left for America, as can be read in Giovanni’s handwritten note Treccani on the cover. Treccani degli Alfieri, industrialist in the textile sector and senator of the Kingdom in 1924, founded the following year the Giovanni Treccani Institute for the publication of the Italian Encyclopedia and the Biographical Dictionary of Italians. This great patron then promoted an elegant facsimile edition of Donizetti’s score, which was published in 1941, in a limited edition of 300 copies, by the Milanese publisher Bestetti, with introductory notes by Guido Zavadini (Parma, 1868 – Bergamo, 1958), musicologist and first curator of the Donizetti Museum in Bergamo.
On the back of the first plate of the score is the pre-printed ex-libris by Giovanni Treccani degli Alfieri; upon his death in 1961, the score remained in the possession of his descendants. In 1985, the Perolari family financed its purchase by the municipality of Bergamo, which took possession of it on March 19 of the same year, as evidenced by another autograph note by Aldo Perolari. Since then, the score has been kept in the vault of the Mai library. In 2006, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Culture, the entire score was digitized and can now be consulted on the “Internet Culturale” portal.
The 82 Italian Cultural Institutes (ICI) around the world are part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI). They promote the image of Italy and its humanist and scientific culture abroad and collaborate with the main cultural institutions of the country in which they operate. They support Italian language and culture courses; manage an effective network of libraries; create contacts between Italian and foreign cultural operators; facilitate dialogue between cultures based on the principles of democracy.
ICI in New York was officially established in 1961, but its roots date back to 1956 with the cultural activities promoted by the Consulate. It is housed in a 1919 Georgian Revival building at 686 Park Avenue. The building, designed by architects WA Delano & CH Aldrich, is connected by a terrace to the Italian consulate. The Institute’s library, dedicated to Lorenzo Da Ponte, currently contains more than thirty thousand volumes.
From an idea of the director of the ICI of New York Fabio Finotti (who is also the author of the texts on the platform), “Stanze italiane” is a project produced by the Italian Cultural Institute of New York – Ministry of Business Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in collaboration with Malina Mannarino (management secretary) and Floriana Tessitore (programming and production); the website and social networks are managed by “Cultura edigitale”, the artistic direction is by Venti caratteruzzi. Emanuele Cammarata is the director of the videos – shot in various locations, thanks to a rich network of collaborators coordinated remotely. The press office is managed by Simonetta Trovato.
About the Metropolitan Opera
Under the direction of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Metropolitan Opera is one of America’s premier performing arts organizations and a vibrant home for the world’s most creative and talented performers. , including singers, conductors, composers, orchestral musicians, directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched numerous initiatives to make opera more accessible, including the Live in HD series of cinematic transmissions, which greatly expand the Met’s audience by allowing selected performances to be seen in more than 2,200 theaters in over 70 countries around the world.