Gaetano Donizetti: Pia de’ Tolomei

Donizetti Critical Edition

Edited by Giorgio Pagannone (2007)

Two-volume set: score + critical commentary pp. I-XLI, 1-313 / 314-898
NR 138861
Piano vocal score available
CP 138864

Pia de’ Tolomei (libretto by Salvadore Cammarano) first went on stage at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in February 1837. The composer, under pressure from the impresario Alessandro Lanari, found himself constrained to change the structure of the opera previously agreed upon with the librettist: from an opera for only three principal singers he had to realise one for four. In this way the character of Rodrigo, Pia’s brother, rose to the level of a principal character.

As soon as Donizetti was able to take back control of the opera on other stages (Senigallia, 1837, and Naples, 1838), he drastically reduced the part of Rodrigo (relegating him almost to the role of an extra) and in this way brought the opera back in line with the original plan for three principal parts. The productions in Senigallia 1837 and Naples 1838 also offered Donizetti the opportunity to entirely rethink the score and replace a number of pieces that did not entirely convince him.

The critical edition reconstructs the three versions of the opera authorised by the composer and makes it possible to perform them, emending the errors and inconsistencies in the sources and restoring the musical text to its original state.

It presents as the principal text the Venice version of 1837, also making available in Appendix 1a passages pertaining to this version but cut in the autograph score, while publishing in Appendix 1b the second version of the stretta in the Finale Primo that Donizetti wrote in the course of the performances in Venice in place of the unusually formed original.

Appendix 2 provides the new Finale Primo composed on the occasion of the revival in Senigallia in 1837 in place of the original, while Appendix 3 gathers together the materials necessary to reconstruct the third and final version of the opera, i.e. the one that went on stage in Naples in 1838.