Don Sebastiano

Album cover art for upc 8007068259823
Label: BONGIOVANNI
Catalog: GB2598/99-2
Format: COMPACT DISC

Robert Woroniecki Monica Minarelli Randall Jacobsh Ettore Kim Mario Tagadossi Andreas Joost Wolfgang Biebuyck Sin

Dom Sebastien, based on Scribe’s french libretto, was presented in Paris on November 13th, 1843. It was a popular success, though Donizetti was not completely satisfied with this work and, already during the first performances, began making changes. Scribe’s libretto was translated, at the end of 1843, into Italian by Giovanni Ruffini and, at the same time, into German by Leo Herz, who was the resident director at the Vienna Imperial Theater. Donizetti used Ruffini’s Italian libretto to effect his changes. At the beginning of 1844 the second version of Donizetti’s Don Sebastiano was ready. The Emperor wanted this opera to be presented in German; therefore Ruffini’s libretto was replaced by the Leo Herz’ German language version which had been prepared with the objective of almost completely following the rhythmic articulations of the Italian version. Therefore, the second version of Don Sebastiano, rewritten by Donizetti, was performed for the first time in Vienna on February 5th, 1845, in German, and Donizetti himself directed this and the following two performances, which means that the Viennese version is unquestionably authentic and represents the very last work of the Maestro. Unfortunately, at this point, Donizetti was already mentally disturbed and could no longer look after his work. The retouched libretto no longer fit with the music of Donizetti; therefore, all the rewritten parts of the libretto were also musically re-edited so that they are not truly attributable to Donizetti. This was the Italian version, re-edited, thus not authentic, which was published in 1865. All the successive performances in Italian were, thus, apocryphal; Donizetti had nothing to do with them. The fortunate discovery of the original text by Giovanni Ruffini, led to the revival of the second version, preferred by Donizetti, and in Italian instead of German.

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