Gaetano Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Donizetti Critical Edition

Edited by Anders Wiklund (1991)

Two-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. I-XXXV, 1-370 / 371-780
NR 134913
Piano vocal score available
CP 134916

The critical edition of Maria Stuarda provides for the first time in a single publication all the music that was definitely composed by Donizetti for this dramatic opera. Written by the composer in 1832 for the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, the opera was banned by the censors just a few days before it was scheduled to open.

Donizetti was compelled against his will to prepare an alternative, fall-back version of it (on a new and different libretto entitled Buondelmonte) prior to presenting the opera again at the Scala in December 1835, where he was able to reinstate the original libretto. On this occasion Donizetti effected numerous changes to adapt the opera to its new vocal cast (which included Maria Malibran) and to the traditions of the Milan theatres.

In the years that followed Donizetti did not have any further opportunities to produce Maria Stuarda. In 1865 the opera was produced in Naples in a spurious version in which a number of pieces were replaced with pieces taken from other works by Donizetti and the opera was divided into three acts (instead of the original two). This latest version has served as the basis for all the revivals of the opera in the 20th century as well as all the existing editions of it.

The discovery of the autograph score of Maria Stuarda has therefore made it possible to realise this critical edition that aims to provide a philologically accurate musical text that resolves a great many of the knotty problems stemming from the complex tradition of the opera.

It presents as the principal text the version contained in the autograph score. This is in fact the only version that is entirely by the composer and that can be reconstructed reliably, given that no incontestable and complete sources have come down to us either in the form of the Naples version of 1834 (which cannot be reconstructed at all) or in that of the Milan version of 1835 (which has come down to us only in the reduction for voice and piano published by Ricordi in 1836). The autograph version – like almost all the 19th century manuscript copies – appears to constitute an intermediate version between the two versions just mentioned. The four Appendixes reproduce alternative versions and vocal variants all highly useful for the modern performer who wishes to stage this opera respecting its theatrical peculiarities.