Don Gregorio (opera)

Don Gregorio is an 1826 opera by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Jacopo Ferretti and adapted from his popular 1824 opera buffa L'ajo nell'imbarazzo (The Tutor Embarrassed), which had enjoyed considerable success when presented at the Teatro Valle in Rome on 4 February 1824.[1]

When Francesco Tortoli was interested in producing it in Naples, it was determined that L'ajo nell'imbarazzo was unsuitable as it stood. Donizetti then signed a contract with Tortoli for 300 ducats to adapt it into a new opera, Don Gregorio, and to compose one further opera. For the adaptation, Donizetti composed some additional music, revised the recitatives into spoken dialogue, and translated the role of Don Gregorio into the Neapolitan dialect. The opera premiered at the Teatro Nuovo on 11 June 1826.

Performance history

19th century

Having been given under its original title, Donizetti revisions became Don Gregorio, and with that name, it premiered at the Teatro Nuovo. That same year, it also was given at La Scala and many Italian theatres. On 28 July 1846 it was first given in London,[1] but "seems to have disappeared from view until it turned up again in Italy in the twentieth century".[2] However, under one or other of its names, the opera was presented as late as 1866 in Milan and 1879 in Venice.[3]

20th century and beyond

Don Gregorio was presented at the Teatro Donizetti in the composer's home town of Bergamo in 1959 and an Italian TV production was broadcast in 1964.[4] It was not until 1980 that it appeared in New York.[1]

A successful staging of L'ajo nell'imbarazzo by the Wexford Festival in 1973 led to that opera appearing in four additional European cities between 1975 and 1990, and in 2006, Wexford staged Don Gregorio, based on the new critical edition [5] by Maria Chiara Bertieri.[6]

Don Gregorio was then revived in Bergamo, Fano and Catania, with Paolo Bordogna in the title role and directed for the stage by Roberto Recchia. A new video recording was made from live performances given by the Teatro Donizetti in November 2007.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast,
11 June 1826
(Conductor: -)
Don Gregorio bass
Gilda soprano
Leonarda mezzo-soprano
Marchese Enrico tenor
Don Giulio Antiquati baritone
Marchese Pippetto tenor


Time: Early nineteenth century
Place: An Italian city

Marquis Giulio demands that his sons, Enrico and Pippetto, grow up in complete ignorance of all matters of the flesh. Yet Enrico has secretly married Gilda, and they even have a son. Exasperated by the life he's forced to lead, the youth begs the elderly tutor Gregorio for help, and has him meet his wife. When, however, the Marquis arrives, Gilda remains trapped in Gregorio's room. She worries, for she must nurse her child: Gregorio is forced to fetch the baby and bring it to her, hidden under his cloak. Leonarda, an old servant in the household, informs the Marquis of her suspicions; he discovers Gilda, but is convinced she must be the tutor's lover. In the tempestuous scene that follows, involving all the characters, the truth finally comes out. The Marquis realizes his error, and decides to entrust his younger son, Pippetto, to Enrico, so that he might help him learn "the ways of the world."


Year Cast:
(Gregorio Cordebono,
Gilda Tallemanni,
Marchese Enrico,
Don Giulio Antiquati,
Marchese Pippetto)
Opera House and Orchestra,
Creative team
2007 Paolo Bordogna,
Elizaveta Martirosyan,
Alessandra Fratelli,
Giorgio Trucco,
Giorgio Valerio,
Livio Scarpellini
Stefano Montanari,
Chorus and Orchestra of the Bergamo Gaetano Donizetti Music Festival.

Roberto Recchia, stage director. Ferdia Murphy, set and costume designer.
(Recorded at performances at the Donizetti Music Festival, 2–4 November)

DVD: Dynamic
Cat: 33579

See also



  1. ^ a b c Ashbrook and Hibberd 2001, p. 226
  2. ^ Osborne 1994, p. 156
  3. ^ Weinstock 1963, p. 318
  4. ^ Details of cast and crew on
  5. ^ Critical edition of Don Gregorio[permanent dead link] produced by the Fondazione Donizetti, Bergamo; no date, on Retrieved 12 December 2013
  6. ^ In the introduction to the critical edition, Bertieri notes: "Two years after the first performance of the opera buffa in two acts in the Teatro Valle in 1824, Donizetti decided to put it back on stage at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples in the summer of 1826. This new version of the work, which probably had the original title, although today we call Don Gregorio (as does Donizetti in his correspondence). There were several changes: first, the addition of three new "numbers" which Donizetti wrote in collaboration with librettist Andrea Leo Tottola....Moreover, all the recitatives were replaced by prose pieces. Also, the part of the protagonist, Don Gregorio, is almost entirely in the Neapolitan dialect. This score is the result of a computer transcription of all sources related to the Neapolitan version incusing the autograph score and libretto.
  7. ^ Source for recording information: Recording(s) of Don Gregorio on

Cited sources

  • Ashbrook, William and Sarah Hibberd (2001), "L'ajo nell'imbarazzio, o Don Gregorio" in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
  • Osborne, Charles, (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-71-3
  • 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

Other sources

External links

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