Le duc d'Albe
Le duc d'Albe (original French title) or Il duca d'Alba (later Italian title: The Duke of Alba) is an opera in three acts originally composed by Gaetano Donizetti in 1839 to a French language libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier, and intended for performance at the Paris Opéra. However, William Ashbrook notes that "Rosine Stoltz, the director's mistress, disliked her intended role of Hélène and Donizetti put the work aside when it was half completed"
Donizetti then abandoned the score in favour of continuing to work simultaneously on both L'ange de Nisida and L'elisir d'amore, and thus it was nearly 34 years after the composer's death that it was completed by his former pupil Matteo Salvi and received its first performance in an Italian translation and under its Italian title Il duca d'Alba at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on 22 March 1882 with Leone Giraldoni in the title role, Abigaille Bruschi Chiatti as Amelia di Egmont, and Julián Gayarre as Marcello.
It received almost no performances in Italian until the mid-20th century and was only given its first performances in French in May 2012.
The opera had been originally commissioned for the Paris Opéra in 1839, and Donizetti worked on it throughout most of that year. However, he abandoned the project with only the first two acts completed, plus notes for the melodies and bass lines for acts 3 and 4. The opera remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1848.
In 1855, Scribe and Duveyrier's libretto was transferred to Verdi's opera Les vêpres siciliennes, with the setting changed from the Spanish occupation of Flanders in 1573 to the French occupation of Sicily in 1282.
In 1881 Matteo Salvi, a former pupil of Donizetti's, completed the opera from Donizetti's notes with the help of Amilcare Ponchielli, Antonio Bazzini and Cesare Domeniceti. Angelo Zanardini translated Scribe's libretto from the original French into Italian, and the names of the two lovers, 'Henri' and 'Hélène', which by that time had been used in Les vêpres siciliennes were changed to 'Marcello' and 'Amelia'.
When Donizetti abandoned the opera, he re-cycled the famous tenor aria, 'Ange si pur' ( 'Spirto gentil' in the Italian version) for his 1840 opera La favorite. For the premiere, Salvi composed a replacement aria, 'Angelo casto e bel'. He also added recitatives and combined acts 3 and 4 into a single final act.
The opera has only been rarely performed since 1882. However, there was a major revival of the Italian version at the 1959 Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, after conductor Thomas Schippers re-discovered the score (originally found in 1952), reworked it by removing most of Salvi's additions and reconstructing the final acts himself from Donizetti's notes. 
Schippers also returned 'Spirto Gentil' to its original place in the opera. The Spoleto production was directed by Luchino Visconti who used restored sets from the 1882 premiere.
Schippers presented the United States premiere of the work later that year under the umbrella of the American Opera Society at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on 15 October 1959. The Schippers version with the Visconti production was revived at the 1992 Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina.
In October 1982 Opera Orchestra of New York gave a concert performance of a version of the opera with Matteo Manuguerra in the title role.  It was recorded, as was a 2007 concert performance given by the Orchestra national de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon.
Original French version
In May 2012 Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp and Ghent presented the first performances of the original French opera in a four-act version, which had been completed in 1953 with additional music by Giorgio Battistelli. It used the critical edition prepared by musicologist Prof. Roger Parker who has written extensive notes on the evolution of this original version. 
Italian / French
|Voice type||Italian version
22 March 1882
(Conductor: Marino Mancinelli)
25 May 2012
(Conductor: Paolo Carignani)
|Il duca d’Alba / Le Duc d'Albe,
Governor of Flanders for King Philip II of Spain
|baritone||Leone Giraldoni||George Petean|
|Amelia di Egmont / Hélène d'Egmont||soprano||Abigaille Bruschi Chiatti||Rachel Harnisch|
|Marcello di Bruges / Henri de Bruges,
a Flemish patriot and Amelia's lover
|tenor||Julián Gayarre||Ismael Jordi / Marc Laho|
|Sandoval, Captain of the Spanish troops||baritone||Hjalmar Frey||Vladimir Baykov|
|Carlo / Carlos,
a Spanish officer
|tenor||Giovanni Paroli||Gijs Van der Linden|
|Daniele Brauer / Daniel Brauer,
a Flemish patriot
|baritone||Alessandro Silvestri||Igor Bakan|
|Il taverniere / Un Tavernier,
a beer seller
|bass||Romeo Sartori||Stephan Adriaens|
The Duke of Alba has been sent to Flanders to suppress the rebellion against Spanish rule. Shortly before the action begins, Amelia's father Egmont, a Flemish hero, had been executed by the Duke and she is now determined to assassinate him. The Duke discovers that his long-lost son Marcello, Amelia's lover, is now the leader of the rebellion. The Duke arrests him when he refuses to join the Spanish army.
When Marcello is freed from prison, he appeals to the Duke to spare his co-conspirators and Amelia, all of whom have been arrested in Daniele Bauer's tavern. The Duke reveals to Marcello that he is his father. In exchange for his friends' freedom, Marcello kneels before the Duke and acknowledges him as his father.
Marcello confesses to Amelia that he is the Duke's son. She asks him to kill the Duke as proof of his love for her. Torn between his father and the woman he loves, Marcello hesitates. Later at the port of Antwerp, Amelia, disguised as a man, takes matters into her own hands and attempts to stab the Duke to death. Marcello throws himself on the Duke to shield him and is unwittingly killed by Amelia.
Italian version: Prepared by Angelo Zanardini, Rome 1882.
(Il duca d'Alba,
Marcello di Bruges,
Amelia di Egmont)
Opera House and Orchestra
Orchestra sinfonica della RAI di Roma
|Audio CD: Bongiovanni Historical Opera Collection
Trieste Philharmonic Orchestra
and Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi Chorus
|Audio CD: Opera D'Oro
Opera Orchestra of New York and Schola Cantorum of New York
(Recording of a concert performance in the Carnegie Hall,
New York, 28 October)
|Audio CD: Omega Opera Archive
Arturo Chacon Cruz,
Orchestra National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon
and Latvian Radio Chorus. (Recording of a concert performance)
|Audio CD: Accord
Original version using the French text: Completed by Giorgio Battistelli in 1953.
(Le Duc d'Albe,
Henri de Bruges,
Opera House and Orchestra
Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Vlaamse Opera Antwerp/Ghent
(Recorded at a performance given by the Vlaamse Opera in May 2012)
|Audio CD: Dynamic,
Cat: CDS 7665
- Ashbrook 1998, p. 1263
- Edward Rothstein, 30 May 1992, "A Donizetti Work Is Resurrected, Sets and All", The New York Times
- John Rockwell, 31 October 1982, "Concert: Eve Queler leads Alba", The New York Times.
- Yolen Buldrini, "Dossier: Il Duca d'Alba", on Forum Opéra (French) (accessed 26 December 2013)
- See Weatherson, "The 'hache sanglante' of the Duke of Alba", Parts 1, 2, and 3, for a history of the Italian version
- "Music: Donizetti Revived", Time, 22 June 1959: "In a publisher's warehouse in Milan last fall, Kalamazoo-born conductor Thomas Schippers discovered an opera score dedicated to Queen Margherita of Italy and tied up in purple string. In Spoleto last week, at the opening of Gian Carlo Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds, he unwrapped his find before a capacity audience. Italian critics promptly hailed the long-forgotten work as one of the finest creations of composer Gaetano Donizetti". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Cast and production details on the OONY website Retrieved 12 May 2012
- "Le Duc d'Albe" on the Vlaamse Opera's website at vlaamseopera.be/en. Retrieved 26 December 2013
- Parker, Roger, "Donizetti’s Forgotten French Opera: In Search of Le Duc d’Albe", Donizetti Society (London), June 2012, on donizettisociety.com. Retrieved 9 February 2014
- Premiere cast from Casaglia
- Premiere cast from Donizetti Society
- Source of recording on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
- Ashbrook, William (1998), "Le duc d'Albe" in Stanley Sadie (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. One. London: MacMillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
- Casaglia, Gherardo (22 Marzo 1882), Almanacco Amadeus, 2005. Accessed 11 December 2009 (in Italian).
- Parker, Roger (2012),"Donizetti’s Forgotten French Opera: In Search of Le Duc d’Albe", Donizetti Society (London), June 2012, on donizettisociety.com (written in conjunction with the Vlaamse Opera reconstruction performances). Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Weatherson, Alexander, "The 'hache sanglante' of the Duke of Alba: Part 1 - A history of the opera", Newsletter 102, October 2007, pub: Donizetti Society (London).
- Weatherson, Alexander, "The 'hache sanglante' of the Duke of Alba: Part 2 - The structure and numbers of the opera", Newsletter 102, October 2007. pub. Donizetti Society (London).
- Weatherson, Alexander, "The 'hache sanglante' of the Duke of Alba: Part 3 - The opera's performance history since the 1950's", Newsletter 102, October 2007. pub. Donizetti Society (London). Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Allitt, John Stewart (1991), Donizetti: in the light of Romanticism and the teaching of Johann Simon Mayr, Shaftesbury: Element Books, Ltd (UK); Rockport, MA: Element, Inc.(USA)
- Ashbrook, William (1982), Donizetti and His Operas, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052123526X ISBN 0-521-23526-X
- Ashbrook, William and Sarah Hibberd (2001), in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-140-29312-4.
- Jackson, Alan (in part), "Past Production Report: Donizetti's Le Duc d'Albe", Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp & Ghent, 25 May—2 June 2012", Donizetti Society (London). (Reactions to seeing the Vlaamse Opera's production in 2012)
- 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
- Rosenthal, H. and Warrack, J., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 2nd Edition, 1979, Oxford University Press. p. 144
- Sadie, Stanley, (Ed.); John Tyrell (Exec. Ed.) (2004), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edition. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0195170672 (hardcover). ISBN 0195170679 OCLC 419285866 (eBook).
- Weinstock, Herbert (1963), Donizetti and the World of Opera in Italy, Paris, and Vienna in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 63-13703
- Donizetti Society (London) website for further information on this opera.