Il paria

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Il paria (The Outcast) is an opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni, based on Le Paria by Casimir Delavigne and Michele Carafa's Il paria with a libretto by Gaetano Rossi.

Completed in the winter of 1828, it was first performed on 12 January 1829 at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples. The opera had modest success, with six performances[1] and Donizetti was not satisfied. In a letter to his father he announced his intentions to revise it,[2] but the idea was abandoned.

The scholar William Ashbrook, has called this work "Donizetti's finest achievement up to this point",[3] praising the adhesion of the vocal writing to the dramatic situations and the sense of proportions, stressing in particular the use of a quartet instead of the classic final. According to Ashbrook, the limited luck of Paria is due in large part to the libretto, with its numerous dramatic flaws, and lack of a final decisive dramaturgy.

Some portions were re-used in other works by Donizetti, including Anna Bolena, La romanziera e l'uomo nero, Torquato Tasso, and Le duc d'Albe, [3] as well as in Il diluvio universale.[4]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 12 January 1829
(Conductor: - )
Neala, Daughter of Akebare soprano Adelaide Tosi
Idamore Warrior leader, a Pariah tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini
Zarete, Idamore's father bass Luigi Lablache
Akebare, Neala's father, Brahmin high priest bass Giovanni Campagnoli
Zaide, Priestess contralto Edvige Ricci
Empsaele, Brahmin, Akebare's confidant tenor Domenico Chizzola
Chorus of priests, priestesses, bayaderes, trumpeters, warriors, people, guardians of the temple, fakirs


Time: "The distant past"[5]
Place: Benares

Act 1[edit]

Akebare, high priest of the Brahmins, plans to give his daughter, Neala, in marriage to a valiant warrior. He has already chosen Idamore, the leader of the warriors, who is to return victorious after defeating the Portuguese enemies, even though he hates him for the glory he receives. Neala is in love with Idamore but is unaware of her father's choice, hence she fears for their destiny.

Idamore, who returns the affection of Neala, has a secret: he is a Pariah, a member of a caste mortally hated by the Brahmins because it is considered cursed by the god Brahma, but he succeeded in becoming a warrior concealing his origin.

The father of Idamore, Zarete, has for a long time heard no news from his son, and now arrives incognito, searching. When he gets to talk to his son and learns that Idamore is about to marry the daughter of their mortal enemy, the Brahmins, a fight between the two breaks out. But ultimately Idamore promises his father he will flee with him, asking his permission to say goodbye to Neala first.

Act 2[edit]

Idamore, having learned from Akebare that he's the groom chosen for Neala, reveals his origins to Neala. Neala agrees to elope with him after they have celebrated their wedding.

Zarete, upon learning the wedding is taking place, breaks into the temple, demanding equality between Pariahs and Brahmins. He is sentenced to death by Akebare, and Idamore is forced to reveal to everyone that he is the son of a Pariah. Akebare in his fury sentences Idamore to death as well, and Neala begs her father for mercy to no avail. She opts to join them in "a horrible, atrocious death", while Akebare rejoices "Mine is the kingdom! Mine is the empire! I couldn’t yearn for more!", as he can take possession of the empire when Idamore is dead.


Year Cast
(Neala, Idamore, Akebare, Zarete,
Zaide, Empsaele)
Opera House and Orchestra
2001 Patrizia Cigna,
Filippo Pina Castiglioni,
Alessandro Verducci,
Marcin Bronikowski,
Nara Montefusco,
Andrea Bragiotto
Marco Berdondini,
Orchestra "Pro Arte" Marche and the Coro Lirico Mezio Agostini
(Recorded live 6–8 April 2001 at Teatro Masini in Faenza, Italy)[7]


Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GB 2300/1-2



  1. ^ Stanley-Little 2009, p. 72
  2. ^ Verzino, Edward Clement (19 January 1829), "Contribution to a biography of Gaetano Donizetti; letters and unpublished documents": "Ho dato l'opera e fui chiamato fuori, io però dico che ho sbagliato in qualche sito, e lo proverò coll'aggiustarla: mi conosco!" Bergamo: Carnazzi, 1896, p. 50
  3. ^ a b Ashbrook 1982, pp. 309—312
  4. ^ Pardo, Daniel, "Donizetti: Il Diluvio Universale", Opera Today 11 December 2005. Retrieved 23 December 2013
  5. ^ Osborne 1994, p. 183
  6. ^ Recording of Il paria on Retrieved 24 December 2013
  7. ^ Steiger 2008, p. 119 "Il paria" in Opern-Diskographie Retrieved 24 December 2013
  8. ^ Buldrini, Yonel, "Critiques: Donizetti—Il Paria" on, 8 July 2008 (in French). Retrieved 24 December 2013


  • 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 0-521-23526-X
  • Asbrook, William (1998), "Donizetti, Gaetano" 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
  • Ashbrook, William and Sarah Hibberd (2001), in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4. pp. 224 – 247.
  • Black, John (1982), Donizetti’s Operas in Naples, 1822—1848. London: The Donizetti Society.
  • 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 0-931340-71-3
  • Sadie, Stanley, (Ed.); John Tyrell (Exec. Ed.) (2004), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edition. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-19-517067-2 (hardcover). ISBN 0-19-517067-9 OCLC 419285866 (eBook).
  • Stanley-Little, Clarissa (2009), The Great Lablache: Nineteenth Century Operatic Superstar His Life and His Times". Xlibris Corporation ISBN 978-1-4500-0304-9
  • Steiger, Karsten, (2008), "Il paria" in Opern-Diskographie Munich: Walter de Gruyter (In German) ISBN 978-3-11-095596-5
  • 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. LCCN 63-13703

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