Edited by Franco Piperno (2022)
The new critical edition of Beatrice di Tenda is based on the original manuscript of the opera, which was consulted at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory Library in Rome, where it is housed. Other important sources include the copy of the manuscript housed at the Historical Archives of Teatro La Fenice in Venice (penned just prior to the opera’s debut in March 1833), the Ricordi score for voice and piano written in 1833-1834 (sheet numbers 6950-6970), and the printed score published by Pittarelli in Rome, circa 1835. Research and collation also involved the examination of other manuscripts, which proved to be of utmost importance, including the copies housed at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory Library in Milano (Noseda C 21), the Santa Cecilia Conservatory Library in Rome (Ms 430-431), and the Bibliothéque Nationale de France (R88685-93).
The new critical edition features corrections of numerous errors contained in the previous editions; instrumental parts that were omitted and sections that were deleted have been put back in place; original dynamics and accents have been restored; a series of gaps in the original manuscript have been filled – they were the product of smeared ink, and inaccurate trimming and binding. A list of the most significant interventions has been provided. Such work has allowed us to settle the question of the opera’s double finale once and for all. Bellini’s handwriting has been definitively confirmed, as has the integrity of the original version of the manuscript. The Casa Ricordi score (1833-1834) also proved helpful here, although the handwriting that appears has not yet been confirmed, along with several secondary copies. However, to this day, the second version’s original instrumentation remains a mystery, since the manuscript pertaining to it has never been found. The instrumentation we know today – included in the Appendix of the critical edition – comes to us from various secondary sources, in at least two distinct versions. However, none of the elements therein point definitively to Bellini’s handwriting. For all we know, we may be dealing with an anonymous instrumental score based on the Ricordi score for voice and piano.
The new critical edition also features comprehensive and detailed appendices that include numerous pages of the original manuscript that were removed by Bellini; an alternative instrumentation for Agnese’s romance Ah! non pensar che pieno in Introduction to ACT I, from the copy housed in the Teatro La Fenice Archives; manuscript notes and fragments of various parts of the opera, housed in the Teatro Massimo Bellini Archives (Catania), the British Library (London), and elsewhere.
WP of the critical edition: 23.09.2023 Naples, Teatro di San Carlo