A Donizetti Rarity in Streaming at the Teatro del Maggio

A scene from the dress rehearsal of ‘Linda di Chamounix’

Florence’s Teatro del Maggio opens the 2021 season with a rare Donizetti opera, “Linda di Chamounix” in live streaming on Friday, January 15 at 8 pm.  The opera premiered in Vienna at the Karntner theater in May of 1842 and was extremely popular throughout the 19th century. It was first performed Florence in 1843 at the Teatro della Pergola, and returned many times to  Florentine theatres (including the Goldoni and the Niccolini) and for the last time again at the Pergola in 1910. Since then, it has never been performed in Florence nor on the program of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

“Linda di Chamounix” is a melodrama semi-serio work, a genre that mixes pathos and irony with the inevitable happy ending. At the center of the action is a beautiful and virtuous girl, Linda, in love with Viscount Charles but threatened by his lecherous uncle, the Marquis of Boisfleury. In perfect melodramatic tradition, there are misunderstandings, and reconciliations, and plot twists including a mad scene to rival Donizetti’s opera “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Happily, in the end, it is music that brings Linda back to her senses and the two lovers will be permitted to marry after all. 

The role of Linda will be portrayed by Jessica Pratt, originally from Australia, who is considered today one of the foremost interpreters of some of  bel canto’s most challenging repertoire.  Mezzo-soprano Teresa Iervolino will play the ‘pants’ role of Pierotto, Linda’s faithful childhood friend. Other members of the cast are Francesco Demuro, Vittorio Prato, Marina De Liso, Fabio Capitanucci, Michele Pertusi and Antonio Garés. The opera will be conducted by Michele Gamba, and the staging has been entrusted to Cesare Lievi. Due to safety restrictions regarding the pandemic, in an unusual choice, the stage director has used the chorus positioned around the stage holding their scores almost as a narrator, becoming a character in itself. 

The opera will be broadcast free of charge on the Maggio website and on the digital platform for classical music Takt1, and will be available for one month.  (anne lokken)