Gaetano Donizetti: Il campanello

Donizetti Critical Edition

Edited by Ilaria Narici (1994)

One-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. I-XXXII, 1-318
NR 136116
Piano vocal score available
CP 136119

The farce Il campanello was born at a particularly difficult moment in the history of Neapolitan theater. Performed at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples on 1 June 1836, it was composed by Donizetti – to his own libretto – to help with the difficulties of the impresario and cast operating in the little theater above the Toledo Quarter during the 1836-37 season.

When the opera was revived at the Teatro del Fondo in May 1837 Donizetti made some major alterations, such as the substitution of the brindisi (N. 3), the addition of a new piece for the two male protagonists and, according to evidence provided by Guillaume Cottrau in a letter to the impresario Alessandro Lanari,1 the conversion of the dialogue into recitatives. The composer also gave his consent to the Italian translation of the buffo role, which was originally conceived in Neapolitan dialect.

In this dual form of farce with dialogue and short opera buffa with recitatives, Il campanello enjoyed numerous revivals in the nineteenth century both in ltaly and abroad – revivals in which Donizetti, however, played no part.

In the second half of the XXth century the 1955 Ricordi hire score (catalog no. 129133) standardized the version with recitatives, and this is the guise in which the opera has since continued on its way.

Detailed study of the autograph sources, score and libretto, has made possible the preparation of this new edition which presents the reconstruction of the first version of the work (Naples 1836) and, as an Appendix, the additions and substitutions introduced in the revival the following year (Naples 1837). In order to simplify performance, the recitatives belonging to the latter version have been printed in the main body of the work rather than as an Appendix.