February 22, 2017

An analytical exercise by Euler L.

By Euler L.

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Lavigna’s fees and all of Verdi’s other expenses were funded by the generous Barezzi. Lavigna was pleased with his young pupil’s progress and introduced him to Pietro Massini, director of the Filodrammatici, the highly regarded Milanese philharmonic society. Like Barezzi’s organization in Busseto, it was an amateur group, but it operated on a much more ambitious artistic level. In the spring of 1834 Verdi attended a rehearsal of the society for a performance of Haydn’s Creation at which the three assistant conductors, who shared the responsibility of playing the keyboard part, failed to appear.

After a long passage of recitative in which the priestess reprimands her people for their eagerness to go to war, the principal melody of the cantabile is introduced by the solo flute, accompanied by broken chords in the strings and then repeated by Norma in her prayer to the moon goddess. Elegant, expressive melodies with carefully placed, poignant chromatic tones were Bellini’s greatest strength and that of “Casta diva” is among his most beautiful. Norma’s father, Oroveso, and the chorus join in to accompany Norma’s florid embroidery on the repetition of the words “senza vel” (“unveiled”).

The immediate success of Anna Bolena owed much to the glittering cast at its premiere, led by the prima donna Giuditta Pasta (1797–1865) and the great tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini (1794–1854). The role of Anne Boleyn was the first of Donizetti’s great bel canto soprano roles, and in recent years it has served as an important vehicle for Maria Callas (1923–1977), Joan Sutherland (1926–2010), Beverly Sills (1929–2007), and Anna Netrebko (b. 1971). 14 CHA P TE R 1 After 1830 Donizetti’s work was in enormous demand, and he composed at a breathtaking pace.

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