Comic drama in two acts by Bartolomeo Merelli
Music by Gaetano Donizetti with a mend by Elio and Rocco Tanica
First performances: Mantova, Imperial Regio Teatro, Carnival 1819;
Treviso, Teatro Dolfin, spring 1820 (second version)
Edition by Edoardo Cavalli and Maria Chiara Bertieri
New quintet with Elio and Rocco Tanica (by Enrico Melozzi)
©Fondazione Teatro Donizetti
Le nozze in villa is this year’s opera for the #Donizetti200, a project that involves the staging of a work by the composer from Bergamo on its 200th anniversary.
Le nozze in villa is Gaetano Donizetti’s third dramatic work, an opera buffa whose history is not easy to reconstruct:we know it thanks to a single surviving score, not autographed and unfortunately incomplete (a Quintet is missing in Act II); we have no libretto printed on the occasion of its debut; there is no direct evidence of its first performance.
We can, however, indirectly retrace the place and year of its debut (Mantua, carnival 1819), know the initial reception (disappointing: the young composer’s first fiasco), imagine it had a remake and a re-presentation (Treviso, Spring 1820). As for Enrico di Borgogna and Una follia before, Donizetti’s librettist for this third play was Bartolomeo Merelli from Bergamo, who turned an 1803 comedy by August von Kotzebue, translated into Italian with the title I provinciali, into an opera buffa. And so we have an intentionally over the top comedy dealing with a young couple in love grappling with a caricaturedsmug father, and a groom-to-be no less ridiculous.
According to the testimony of an old school friend of Donizetti’s, it was at the time of the Le nozze in villa that he realised the “need to follow the genius of Rossini in order to please the taste of contemporary audiences” and establish himself as an operatic author: only then, would he have thought of “ascending his own way”.