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I Pazzi per progetto (Madmen by Design) is a farce in one act by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni. The first performance took place at Teatro del Fondo, Naples on 7 February 1830.
At the 1830 performance in Naples, some great singers of the time such as Boccabadati and Luigi Lablache performed it in a charity event, but despite the exceptional cast, the audience was really very meager. The work, carried by two women surrounded by five heavy voices, was divided into seven numbers linked by dry ("secco") or accompanied recitatives. It revealed the purest farcical style of the composer, containing the characters and forms typical of that style.
It was performed a few more times in Naples and Palermo, and then forgotten until 1977.
In 1997 a new revision, edited by Maestro Bruno Rigacci of Florence and using the original score which had been preserved at the Conservatorio S. Pietro a Majella in Naples, was presented as part of the Opera Barga Festival. It was a resounding success with the public and the critics.
- Darlemont, directore of a mental hospital, uncle of Norina - basso
- Norina, wife of Blinval - soprano
- Blinval, colonel - basso-baritono
- Cristina, a young girl, in love with Blinval - mezzosoprano
- Venanzio, stingy old man, guardian of Cristina - basso
- Eustachio, trumpeter of Blinval's regiment - baritono
- Frank, servant of Darlemont - basso-baritono
- Place: A hospital for the insane in Paris
- Time: Early 19th Century
The hospital's director, Darlemont, has a niece, Norina, married to Blinval, a colonel of dragoons. The remoteness of the man from his beloved wife due to military reasons and mutual jealousy are the causes of series of actions when the two meet again. Since the meeting takes place in the hospital which is managed by Norina's uncle, the two alternately pose themselves as crazy to find out the true feelings of each other, causing frantic carousel of deceptions and misunderstandings.
Added to all this is a very babbler and an all-too-sincere servant, (Frank), a deserter trumpeter who pretends to be a doctor (Eustace), a beautiful young girl (Christina), former lover of the colonel, who tries to escape from her old guardian (Venanzio). He in turn tries to make her go mad so that he can take her dowry.
These very well-matched ingredients result in a farce with all its rules. At the well-designed end, peace and moral obligation are restored.
Darlemont, Norina, Blinval, Cristina
Opera House and Orchestra
Orchestra and Chorus of Opera di Barga,
(Recording of a performance in the Teatro di Diferenti, Barga, 8 September)
|Audio CD: Unique Opera Records
Cat: UORC 357
Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini",
(Recorded at performances in the Teatro Rossini, Lugo, December)
|Audio CD: Bongiovanni,
Cat: GB 2070-2
|Fabrizio Maria Carminati,
Orchestra Sinfonica "Gaetano Donizetti" di Bergamo,
(Recorded at performances in the Piazza Cittadella, Bergamo Alta, 22 & 24 August)
|Audio CD: Music Media,
Cat: CD 2002
- Ashbrook, William, Donizetti and His Operas, Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 052123526X [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK] ISBN 0-521-23526-X [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-140-29312-4 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Osborne, Charles, The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1994 ISBN 0931340713 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- 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