Gaetano Donizetti: Linda di Chamounix

Donizetti Critical Edition

Edited by Gabriele Dotto (2006)

Two-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. I-LVIII, 1-318 / 319-845
NR 139210
Piano vocal score available
CP 139213

While Donizetti’s autograph score was the principal source for most of the critical edition, a number of other sources, both autograph and non-autograph, were essential for a full reconstruction of the opera.

The autograph represents an intermediate stage between the first author-supervised productions of Vienna and Paris in 1842, and even though the first published vocal score (Ricordi, 1842) and at least one staging of the opera (Turin, 1842) directly reflect the autograph, its structure should not be considered a true “version” of the opera. Deciding exactly which structure to propose as the “base” version of Linda required, however, some compromise when evaluating the contemporary sources.

Surviving documentation suggests that there were three “versions” of the opera (as well as an abbreviated adaptation in French; since Donizetti supervised the translation, he presumably approved the abridgment).

After evaluating and comparing the sources for Linda, the editors have adopted a structure for the critical edition that closely follows the version of Vienna 1843, arguably Donizetti’s last, though such a definition is relative for a composer to whom the concept of “definitive” was foreign.

The critical edition, however, allows the performer the possibility of reproducing the other versions, and of recuperating passages which appear cut in A but which, as discussed in the Notes, may have been performed in the first production.

Indeed, one should not overlook the merits of reconstructing the first version. While Donizetti, as many scholars (including the general editors of this series) have reiterated, would revise his operas whenever the opportunity arose, usually with the aim of improving their reception, Linda represents an unusual case of revisions made to a work that was already a success in each of its previous versions.

The critical edition also includes in the footnotes to the score a number of vocal variants from contemporary sources.