Linda di Chamounix: Performance History

First performance: 19 May 1842, Kärntnertortheater, Wien


Definitive version 17 Nov. 1842, Théâtre Italien, Paris


First performance at:

Linda di Chamounix had a huge success, beginning the evening of its première and throughout the 19 following performances. The critics were unanimous in praising Donizetti's first work for Wien. The Allgemeine Theaterzeitung wrote on May 25:

As Vienna's public is satisfied with this wonderful Linda, so should the eminent Maestro be with them, because nobody has had in Vienna an ampler, more general and overwhelming acceptance than Donizetti.

And the Wiener Zeitung (27 June):

This Linda and her Pierotto will travel around the whole musical world. And we wish them to enjoy everywhere as good and happy a reception as here, where the public is so objective that they can appreciate the merits - no matter from which nation they come.

In November 1942 the definitive version of Linda di Chamounix was staged in Paris with Fanny Tacchinardi in the title role (see the background page). In the year 1843 performances followed in many Italian theatres, always with an enthusiastic reception. In the 1840s the opera was given 129 times on Italian stages and during the 19th century it established itself as one of Donizetti's most popular works (and it must be remembered that his works were performed more frequently than today...).

With the turn of the century, the growing success of Wagnerian and Verismo repertoire resulted in an evolution of the vocal style. Baritones and basses especially could no longer make much of their roles: Mattia Battistini was perhaps the last leading baritone who considered Antonio as one of his major roles. Among the tenors, Tito Schipa had Carlo in his repertoire, but left no recording of it: he did not sing it often, because theatres preferred to have him perform in other works. More recently Alfredo Kraus attempted the role, but with no follow-up (but there is a recording).

Nowadays Linda di Chamounix has become merely a showcase for coloratura sopranos. The most recent recording (featuring Mariella Devia) is no exception, relegating all the male characters to mere supporting roles. Nevertheless a recent staging at Zurich's opera (January 1995) cast, besides Edita Gruberova (JPEG, 22k), the outstanding Giorgio Zancanaro as Antonio and the promising Don Bernardini as Carlo for a remarkable overall achievement.

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This page last revised 19 February 1996