Florence 7 January 2021 – The Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino starts the year 2021 staging and broadcasting Gaetano Donizetti’s opera Linda di Chamounix: Friday 15 January 2021 at 8 pm, on the Maggio website where it will remain available for a month. On the podium, after conducting the performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia last October, maestro Michele Gamba returns; the direction is signed by Cesare Lievi (who should have inaugurated the last Festival with Lo sposo di tre, e marito di nessuna by Luigi Cherubini) and on stage a great cast with the voices of Jessica Pratt, Teresa Iervolino, Francesco Demuro, Vittorio Prato, Marina De Liso, Fabio Capitanucci, Michele Pertusi and Antonio Garés. The work will be broadcast on the Maggio site thanks to the collaboration between the Dynamic labels, the Operabase site and the Takt1 digital platform (whose resumption of the work will then also be made available to subscribers of the same).
“The Linda di Chamounix is our way of starting the new year – said superintendent Alexander Pereira – hoping that things will improve soon. We started and continued with the rehearsals almost in parallel with Otello by Giuseppe Verdi because we wanted to bring it back on stage as soon as possible. I am very happy that the collaboration with Dynamic, Operabase and Takt1 allows us to stream the performance of January 15, 2021 with a great cast. We have wonderful artists starting with the maestro Michele Gamba and the singers Jessica Pratt, Teresa Iervolino, Francesco Demuro, Vittorio Prato, Marina De Liso, Fabio Capitanucci, Michele Pertusi and Antonio Garés. We were very sorry that Cesare Lievi was unable to inaugurate the Festival last May with Lo sposo di tre, e marito di nessuna, so I am very happy that he can now be in Florence with his team, that is Luigi Perego for the sets and costumes and Luigi Saccomandi for the lights. We can almost consider Linda as an opening and a good wish for the new year. One of our objectives, in addition to bringing the opera back to the stage with the public, however, always remains to ensure the safety of all theater staff and to be able to ensure that the choir and orchestra can work in peace “.
“Linda di Chamounix – courage and madness” says Michele Gamba who returns to the Maggio to direct after being on the podium of Il barbiere di Siviglia last October. “A little represented work by the genius of Bergamo: we find the strength and the painful madness of a woman torn apart by estrangement from family and love for a man. In the background, the drama of migrants, social redemption, the rich and cosmopolitan metropolis. A great success for the first Viennese in 1842, in this Florentine edition we find the original scene of the protagonist’s madness in its entirety, with unpublished Donizetti inserts. A first in modern times. A superfine, sophisticated and engagé Donizetti takes care of the music “. Gamba continues:” The orchestral palette is highly sought after, the noble melodic lines even when of popular origin. The music becomes Koinè which has its roots in the European spirit of its time. ”
“It is the first time that I have worked in Florence and I arrive at the Maggio with a little known opera Linda di Chamounix and which has never even been performed in the seasons of this theater; is one of those titles with a somewhat strange story linked to other times and already for the times of the then fictionalized “says the director Cesare Lievi” to face it I wanted to highlight the realism and modernity that it contains setting it in any case with costumes scenes – which are by Luigi Perego – strictly vintage and to make it as enjoyable as possible so that the public could somehow reflect themselves in the plot. The contingent health situation has placed limitations on us that I have tried to transform into opportunities and in this regard I am thinking for example of the Chorus that, unable to perform stage actions, has become a character in itself, the Narrator. The artists of the choir will hold the score, they will position themselves at a distance and the movements they should have done have been entrusted to some extras. ”
To play the role of the protagonist, is the soprano Jessica Pratt: a great bel canto artist and guest in many productions of the Maggio concerning the works of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Together with her, in the role of Pierrotto (and with Pierrot’s clothes), mezzo-soprano Teresa Iervolino, another great virtuoso of the voice who, during the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Gioachino Rossini’s death in Maggio, was the protagonist of Cenerentola and of a concert at the Basilica of Santa Croce. In the role of the male protagonist, Viscount Carlo, Francesco Demuro, who this summer played Alfredo in La traviata, performed in concert form at the Cavea del Maggio. With them the important presences of Vittorio Prato as Antonio, Marina De Liso as Maddalena, Fabio Capitanucci as the Marquis of Boisfleury, Michele Pertusi – who returns at the Teatro del Maggio after Giuseppe Verdi’s two date of the “Requiem”, directed by maestro Zubin Mehta, as the Prefetto and Antonio Garés trained in the Accademia del Maggio, in the role of the Intendant.
Since her debut at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna, May 19, 1842, Linda di Chamounix was immediately considered a great success with glorious origins – as cited in an article in the “Musical Revue et Gazzette” of the time – because she was inspired by a drama and a very popular comedy in France: “La grâce de Dieu” and “Fanchon la Vielleuse”. It is the story of Linda, chaste and pure, escapes from her country to Paris in search of fortune and to escape the whims of the local squire. Together with her, her friend Pierotto who will become, at the end of the work, the character who will make her return home. In between, a complicated love story between Linda and Viscount Carlo that will lead the protagonist to madness that will be cured by the power of music. The score, in fact, has a very important frequent theme: the ballad “Per sua madre” (also present in the French works mentioned above) which is often played by Pierotto not only to remind Linda of her home, but which can be identified as pioneering example of music therapy since it cures the madness of the protagonist who, as in many other Donizetti works, is linked to an aria: “No, non è ver mentirono”.
In Florence, the work was presented for the first time in 1843 only a year after the Viennese debut, at the Pergola. It was often staged most of the time always at the Pergola, but also with performances at Goldoni, Niccolini, at the Logge and the last time it was performed again at the Pergola in December 1910 with Elvira De Hidalgo and Mattia Battistini. Since then never again and never before in the seasons of the Maggio Fiorentino.