Gaetano Donizetti and the horror side of opera

A woman dressed in black appears showing five coffins for her poisoned victims. She is Lucrezia Borgia featured in Donizetti's opera in a scene worthy of a horror film. It is not surprising that opera knows how to represent death in its most heartbreaking guise. Death intertwined with episodes of macabre madness and delirium.

The typical passion of Romanticism and the lightness of comic opera - both present in Donizetti's works - alternate with dark tones, to stage increasingly raw and nefarious events, establishing new bel canto canons of vigorous expressive power. In the opera Maria di Rudenz (1837) the deaths of Corrado, Matilda and the protagonist are staged: a real carnage also represented on a musical level with dark and oppressive sounds (Donizetti lost his wife Virginia the same year). The red of blood and the black of anger color the opera scenes.

The most horrifying scene created by Donizetti is maybe in Lucia di Lammermoor. In the third act the protagonist kills the man she has just married. While the two are in the bedroom she hits him several times with a dagger. She comes out of the room still stained with blood and asks her confidant Raimondo where her husband is.

Between forced marriages, malevolent spiritual guides, broken marriage vows, duels, suicides, uxoricides and death out of desperation, the soprano protagonist reaches very high treble, accompanied by cadences on the flute, and manage to describe the madness and the alteration of the her moods in an icy detachment between thought and reality.


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In ottemperanza alla legge 124/2017 commi da 125 a 129, la società ha ricevuto i contributi relativi agli aiuti di Stato, come pubblicizzato nella Nota integrativa.