Gaetano Donizetti: Betly

Donizetti Critical Edition

Edited by Ellen Lockart and Julia Lockart (2011)

Two-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. I-XXXII, 1-294 / 295-614
NR 139909
Piano vocal score available
CP 139911

Donizetti wrote both the libretto and the music for Betly, which had its premiere in Naples on 21 August 1836: first of a successful cycle of twenty-four performances in Naple in that year alone, and of further eight in the early months of 1837, the opera was intended by Donizetti as a companion of his most recent Il campanello. The story is based on Goethe’s Jery und Bätely (1779) and its opéra comique adaptation Le Chalet (1834; libretto Eugène Scribe and Mélesville, music Adolphe Adam).

This charming comic opera is set in the Swiss Canton of Appenzell, and comes complete with ranz des vaches and a yodelling heroine.

Betly was originally a one-act opera consisting of seven numbers and the standard Neapolitan prosa. Between the end of 1836 and the beginning of 1837 the score was extended in two-act version with five additional new pieces and with recitativi rather than spoken dialogues: the two-act version was premiered at the Teatro Capitolino di Palermo on 29 October 1837, being the most performed version of the opera in Italy throughout the nineteenth century.

In the first Appendix the edition provides the two-act version and in the Appendices 2, 3, 4 provides additional documentation related to alternative versions of the work starting from autograph and manuscript sources kept mainly in Naples (Conservatorio di Musica di San Pietro a Majella) and Rome (Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia).