For the opera by Cherubini, see Pimmalione
Il Pigmalione (Pygmalion) is a scena lirica (lyric scene or opera) in one act by Gaetano Donizetti by an unknown librettist. It is Donizetti's first opera and was written between September and October 1816, when the composer was 19. It has been noted that although "musically slender, the score, nevertheless, reveals the fledgling composer's flair for melody"
The libretto for Donizetti's opera was based on one by Antonio Simone Sografi for Giovanni Batiste Cimador's Pimmalione (1790), in turn based on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Pygmalion and ultimately based on Book X of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Sografi's libretto was also used for an opera by Bonifacio Asioli (1796).
The first lines of the opera begin with Pigmalione:
- Anche spirto né vita più darvi non poss'io
- dove sei genio mio
- che mai sei divenuto misero mio talento!
Donizetti's opera did not receive its premiere until 13 October 1960, when it was performed at the XVII Festival delle novità at the Teatro Donizetti in the composer’s home town of Bergamo, Italy. The performance was conducted by Armando Gatto, while the role of Pigmalione was performed by Doro Antonioli and that of Galatea by soprano Oriana Santunione.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 13 October 1960
(Conductor: Armando Gatto)
|Pigmalione, Pygmalion, the King of Crete||tenor||Doro Antonioli|
|Galatea, Galathea||soprano||Oriana Santunione|
The story of the opera is based on on the famous story of a king and sculptor, Pygmalion, originally taken from the tenth book of the Metamorphoses by Ovid. Pigmalione, dismayed that he may never find in real life the ideal of feminine beauty, creates a sculpture of it himself. Having fallen in love with his own creation, Pigmalione's prayer for the sculpture (christened Galatea)'s animation is answered by Venus.
Opera House and Orchestra
Canto Association Chamber Orchestra
(CDs include recordings of Donizetti's Rita, Olimpiade (1817), and La bella prigioniera)
Live recording, September)
|Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GB 2109/10-2
- Osborne 1994, p. 139.
- Ashbrook & Hibberd 2001, p. 226.
- Ashbrook & Hibberd 2001, p. 225.
- Loewenberg 1970 p. 1828
- Recordings on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
- Ashbrook, William; Sarah Hibberd (2001), in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-140-29312-4. pp. 224 - 247.
- Loewenberg, Alfred (1970). Annals of opera, 1597-1940, 2nd edition. Rowman and Littlefield
- Osborne, Charles, (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0931340713
- Weinstock, Herbert, Donizetti and the World of Opera in Italy, Paris, and Vienna in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, New York: Pantheon Books, 1963. ISBN 63-13703
- Ashbrook, William, Donizetti and His Operas, Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 052123526X ISBN 0-521-23526-X
- Recordings of Il Pigmalione on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
- Information and libretto (Italian)