Bianca e Fernando

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Adelaide Tosi

Bianca e Fernando (English: Bianca and Fernando) is an opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini.

The original version of this opera was presented as Bianca e Gernando and was set to a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni, based on Bianca e Fernando alla tomba di Carlo IV, duca di Agrigento (Bianca and Ferdinand at the Tomb of Charles IV, Duke of Agrigento), a play by Carlo Roti which is set in Sicily. In 1826, use of the name Fernando in the title was forbidden because Ferdinando was the name of the heir to the throne, and no form of it could be used on a royal stage.[1]

The 1826 work—Bellini's first professionally-staged opera—had its first performance at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on 30 May 1826.[1] Its success resulted the offer to the young composer from Domenico Barbaja, the Intendente at the San Carlo and also part of the management of La Scala opera house in Milan, of a commission to write a new opera for La Scala.[1]

The revival of Bianca e Gernando, with the title reverting to the original one proposed for the opera, came about after the success of Il pirata in Milan in October 1827. A commission came from Genoa in early 1828, too late for Bellini to write anything new. However, he did re-arrange the music to suit the singers' voices and in addition (as Galatopoulos states), Romani took on the re-construction of the libretto with the result that "out of the whole of Bianca, the only pieces entirely unchanged are the big duet and the romanza; everything else is altered, and about half of it is new".[2] For this later production, Bellini specifically rejected a request by Gilardoni to revise the libretto, preferring instead Felice Romani, whom he regarded as the superior poet.[3][1]

Performance history[edit]

The first version—Bellini's first professionally-staged opera and given as Bianca e Gernando—had its first performance at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on 30 May 1826, while the revised version, given under its original title, Bianca e Fernando, took place on the occasion of the opening of the new Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa on 7 April 1828.

The opera is rarely, if ever, performed today, although a recording exists of a 1991 performance at the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.[4]


Giovanni David
Antonio Tamburini
Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 7 April 1828
(Conductor: - )
Bianca soprano Adelaide Tosi
Fernando tenor Giovanni David
Carlo, Duke d'Agrigento,
father of Bianco and Fernando
bass Giuseppe Rossi
Filippo bass (modern-day baritone) Antonio Tamburini
Clemente bass Agostino Rovere
Viscardo mezzo-soprano Elisabetta Coda
Uggero tenor Antonio Crippa
Eloisa mezzo-soprano Marietta Riva


Year Cast:
(Bianca, Fernando,
Filippo, Carlo)
Opera House and Orchestra
1976 Yasuko Hayashi,
Antonio Savastano,
Enrico Fissore,
Mario Macchi
Gabriele Ferro,
RAI Turin Orchestra and Chorus
Audio CD: Opera d'Oro
Cat: OPD 1419
1991 Young Ok Shin,
Gregory Kunde,
Haijing Fu,
Aurio Tomicich
Andrea Licata,
Teatro Massimo Bellini, Orchestra and Chorus, Catania,
(Audio and video recordings of a performance
(or of performances) at Catania Bellini Festival)
Audio CD: Live Opera

DVD: House of Opera,
cat: DVDCC 247



  1. ^ a b c d Weinstock 1971, pp. 30—34
  2. ^ Romani to Florimo, approx. February 1828, in Galatopoulos 2002, p. 73
  3. ^ Osborne 1994, p. 312–313
  4. ^ Recording details
  5. ^ Recordings of Bianca e Fernando on

Cited sources

  • Galatopoulos, Stelios (2002), Bellini: Life, Times, Music: 1801-1835. London, Sanctuary Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9781860744051
  • Osborne, Charles (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0931340713
  • Weinstock, Herbert (1971), Bellini: His life and His Operas, New York: Knopf. ISBN 0394416562

Other sources

External links[edit]