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An opera in four acts from a libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaez – music by Gaetano Donizetti

Music by Gaetano Donizetti

Score by Candida Mantica (realizations by Martin Fitzpatrick)© OperaRara / Peters, Lipsia; Italian representative Casa Musicale Sonzogno di Piero Ostali, Milan
Unpublished cabaletta by Candida Mantica (realization by Federico Biscione) © Fondazione Teatro Donizetti

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It was known that La Favorita (1840) had a previous version, L’ange de Nisida. Donizetti had written it for the Théâtre de la Renaissance (1839-1840) in Paris but it never saw the light of day, since that theatre, in May 1840 had to interrupt its programs due to financial difficulties.

The composer had thus shelved the score without reviewing it. But the lyrics and the music didn’t go lost, and they soon contributed to the creation of La Favorite, written for the Opéra, where it was premiered on 2 December 1840. By extracting the parts belonging to Ange from the score of La Favorite, and by integrating those parts with other discarded but still surviving portions, musicologist Candida Mantica was able to recreate this title that goes back to a fully mature Donizetti.

The opera will now finally see its world premiere (it was presented in London last summer, but only as a concert performance).

Set on 1400s Neapolitan coast, Ange centers on the love of Don Fernand d’Aragon for Sylvia and their upcoming wedding, hindered by the balance of power between the court of Naples and the Church. But Sylvia is also loved by a young and courageous man, who appears to be naïve and unsuspecting.

He discovers the situation after his weeding to Sylvia, a wedding that was supported by the interested king. Shame, coupled with an inner conflict between love and atonement, tear the young man apart. Angestarts off as a comedy, only to take on darker shades as it moves on, eventually reaching a dramatic ending. Those who know La Favorite will realize this is not an earlier version of it with just some minor changes, but a completely different kind or drama.