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Gaetano Donizetti

Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) was an Italian composer, best known for his almost 70 operas. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, he was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century and a probable influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi. Donizetti was born in Bergamo in Lombardy. At an early age he was taken up by Simon Mayr who enrolled him with a full scholarship in a school which he had set up. There he received detailed musical training. Mayr was instrumental in obtaining a place for Donizetti at the Bologna Academy, where, at the age of 19, he wrote his first one-act opera, the comedy Il Pigmalione, which may never have been performed during his lifetime.

An offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer's ninth opera, led to his move to Naples and his residency there until production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844. In all, 51 of Donizetti's operas were presented in Naples. Before 1830, success came primarily with his comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences. His first notable success came with an opera seria, Zoraida di Granata, which was presented in 1822 in Rome. In 1830, when Anna Bolena was first performed, Donizetti made a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene shifting the balance of success away from primarily comedic operas, although even after that date, his best-known works included comedies such as L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843). Significant historical dramas did succeed; they included Lucia di Lammermoor (the first to have a libretto written by Salvadore Cammarano) given in Naples in 1835, and one of the most successful Neapolitan operas, Roberto Devereux in 1837. Up to that point, all of his operas had been set to Italian libretti.

Donizetti found himself increasingly chafing against the censorship limitations in Italy (and especially in Naples). From about 1836, he became interested in working in Paris, where he saw greater freedom to choose subject matter, in addition to receiving larger fees and greater prestige. From 1838, beginning with an offer from the Paris Opéra for two new works, he spent much of the following 10 years in that city, and set several operas to French texts as well as overseeing staging of his Italian works. The first opera was a French version of the then-unperformed Poliuto which, in April 1840, was revised to become Les martyrs. Two new operas were also given in Paris at that time. Throughout the 1840s Donizetti moved between Naples, Rome, Paris, and Vienna, continuing to compose and stage his own operas as well as those of other composers. From around 1843, severe illness began to limit his activities. By early 1846 he was obliged to be confined to an institution for the mentally ill and, by late 1847, friends had him moved back to Bergamo, where he died in April 1848 in a state of mental derangement due to neurosyphilis.

Birth and Death Data: Born November 29, 1797 (Bergamo), Died April 8, 1848 (Bergamo)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1898 - 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, arranger

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 51-75 of 581 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-8034 12-in. 6/9/1909 Spirit so fair Evan Williams Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8282 12-in. 10/6/1909 A furtive tear Evan Williams Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8535 12-in. 1/3/1910 Fra poco a me ricovero John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8536 12-in. 1/7/1910 Una furtiva lagrima (A furtive tear) John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8739 12-in. 3/23/1910 Per viver vicino a Maria John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8740 12-in. 3/23/1910 Tu che a Dio spiegasti l'ali John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8754 12-in. 3/26/1910 Rataplan duet Charles Gilibert ; Marcella Sembrich Vocal duet (soprano and baritone), with orchestra composer  
Victor C-10068 12-in. 3/16/1911 Il dolce suono Luisa Tetrazzini Soprano vocal solo, with flute and orchestra composer  
Victor C-10101 12-in. 3/27/1911 Lucia sextette : Chi mi frena Victor Opera Sextette Vocal sextet (soprano, contralto, tenor, 2 baritones, and bass), with orchestra (issued takes) composer  
Victor C-10116 12-in. 3/31/1911 Daughter of the regiment : Selection Vessella's Italian Band Band composer  
Victor C-10203 12-in. 4/6/1911 Lucia sextette Vessella's Italian Band Band composer  
Victor B-10560 10-in. 6/20/1911 Cercheró lontana terra Umberto Sorrentino Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-10973 10-in. 9/15/1911 On the sea Marguerite Dunlap ; Elizabeth Wheeler Female vocal duet, with piano composer  
Victor C-11407 12-in. 12/21/1911 Mad scene Edith Helena Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra and flute obbligato composer  
Victor C-11446 12-in. 1/10/1912 Sextette : Chi mi frena Pasquale Amato ; Angelo Bada ; Enrico Caruso ; Josephine Jacoby ; Marcel Journet ; Luisa Tetrazzini Vocal sextet (soprano, contralto, 2 tenors, baritone, and bass), with orchestra composer  
Victor C-11457 12-in. 1/15/1912 Splendon più belle in ciel le stelle Marcel Journet ; Metropolitan Opera Chorus ; Victor Orchestra Bass vocal solo, with vocal chorus and orchestra composer  
Victor C-11587 12-in. 2/12/1912 Lucia sextette Ferdinand Himmelreich Piano solo composer  
Victor C-11686 12-in. 3/8/1912 O mio Fernando Margarete Matzenauer Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-11786 12-in. 3/22/1912 Ah! l'alto ardor Pasquale Amato ; Margarete Matzenauer Vocal duet (soprano and baritone), with orchestra and chorus composer  
Victor B-11797 10-in. 3/27/1912 Una vergine, un angiol di Dio Alberto Amadi Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-11799 12-in. 3/27/1912 O paradiso Alberto Amadi Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-12117 12-in. 6/19/1912 Oh, Italia, Italia beloved Victor Chorus Chorus, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-13520 12-in. 7/3/1913 Tombe degl'avi miei Alberto Amadi Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-13980 10-in. 10/22/1913 Com'e gentil serenade Charles Harrison Tenor vocal solo, with harp composer  
Victor B-14000 10-in. 10/27/1913 Brindisi Sophie Braslau Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
(Results 51-75 of 581 records)


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Donizetti, Gaetano," accessed April 12, 2024,

Donizetti, Gaetano. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

"Donizetti, Gaetano." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 12 April 2024.

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