Vincenzo Bellini’s opera La Straniera
made its world premiere in Milano at La Scala on February 14, 1829. A second performance was staged the following year on January 13, also at La Scala.
The new Critical Edition features the publication of both versions, laying, for the first time, the groundwork for a revised rendition which, especially with regard to the part of Arturo, provides a more accurate interpretation of Bellini’s first draft of
, as opposed to a simple adaptation. As for the January 1830 version, Bellini had already made changes in the role of Arturo to suit the new tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini, whose vocal range stretched much higher than the range of Domenico Reina, who played Arturo in the original version. What’s more, with respect to the edition previously published by Ricordi, research into the sources has allowed us to settle several issues revolving around the peculiarities regarding the composer’s indications as to phrasing, which have been adopted based on Bellini’s own specific stylistic choices.
The Critical Edition is first and foremost based on Bellini’s original manuscript of the score for La Straniera
, which is housed in Ricordi’s Historical Archives, as well as on the libretto for the world premiere of the opera, and a copy of Bellini’s annotations housed in the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory Library in Milano. The annotations contain the changes Bellini made expressly for Rubini that were featured in the January 1830 performance. A manuscript housed in Catania’s Museo Civico Belliniano reveals the first version of the cabaletta sung by Alaïde in No.11 (Finale secondo), to which Bellini made changes following the world premiere.
The Critical Edition comprises two volumes of musical scores, plus a third volume containing descriptions of the sources, as well as commentary on Bellini’s composition. The introduction to the scores provides a detailed reconstruction of Bellini’s inspiration for La Straniera
and the earliest performances of the opera, as well as an overview of critical response to the work and the notoriety it achieved until Bellini’s untimely death in 1835, thanks to the highly innovative character of the work.
Vincenzo Bellini La Straniera
Melodramma in two acts by Felice Romani
Series of the Edizione Critica delle Opere di Vincenzo Bellini (Vol. IV)
with the collaboration and contribution of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania
Critical edition by Marco Uvietta
NR 138876 - Full score (two-volume set) + critical commentary
Image: Detail of autograph manuscript, Milan, Archivio Storico Ricordi,
vol. I, c. 28r. No. 2 Recitativo e Duetto [Isoletta e Valdeburgo], bars 195-206.
Archivio Storico Ricordi © Ricordi & C. S.r.l. Milano