Gaetano Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Donizetti Critical Edition

Edited by Roger Parker and Rosie Ward (2019)

Two-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. I-LXXXIV, 1-344 / 345
NR 141613
Piano vocal score available
CP 141616

Performed for the first time at the Teatro alla Scala on December 26, 1833, Lucrezia Borgia is considered one of Donizetti’s most innovative works. Although the resistance of the censorship (especially in southern Italy) initially caused a slow diffusion, from the end of the 1830s it became one of the most popular works of the composer, both in Italy and abroad, and remained so until the late 19th century.

The choice of the subject (from a play by Victor Hugo) was certainly courageous for the Italian scenes of the time: an unconventional heroine, bold and with a strong personality, an unusual multitude of characters characterized by a certain moral disorder and a demanding musical dramaturgy due to the mixture of comic and tragic elements contributed in a decisive way to make it an experimental work for the musical language of those times.

The new critical edition of Lucrezia Borgia takes a step forward compared to that of 1998 which, based only on the autograph score, limited itself to reconstructing the version of the first performance of 1833. This edition instead restores for the first time all the variations made by the composer over the course of at least ten years, in part to adapt the work to new performers and new venues (Florence, London, Milan again, Paris, Rome, Metz, to name a few), partly to experiment with new dramaturgies, especially in the finale.

Alongside the well-known additions such as the famous cabaletta for Lucrezia “Si voli il primo a cogliere”, the new edition presents the two arias added for Gennaro “T’amo qual s’ama un angelo” and “Anch’io provai le tenere smanie” (the latter published for the first time ever with the original orchestration of the author) as well as the three alternative endings of the work: from the one coming from the unknown Dalinda, a revised version of Lucrezia Borgia prepared by Donizetti for Naples at the end of 1838 and never represented, to those written for London in 1839 and again for Milan in 1840.

Published as an appendix to the edition, these variants constitute an extraordinarily rich range of performance possibilities – partly unpublished – available to today’s interpreters.