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date: 11 December 2019

Campanello di notte, Il (‘The Night Bell’)locked

  • William Ashbrook

Extract

(‘The Night Bell’)

Melodramma giocoso in one act by Gaetano Donizetti to a text by the composer after a French vaudeville, La sonnette de nuit, by Brunswick, Mathieu-Barthélemy Troin and Victor Lhérie; Naples, Teatro Nuovo, 1 June 1836.

An elderly pharmacist, Don Annibale Pistacchio (buffo bass), is celebrating his marriage to Serafina (soprano). Attending the party is Enrico (baritone), who has been in love with Serafina himself and plots to discomfit Don Annibale on his wedding night. Relying on the legal requirement that a pharmacist must answer his bell at any hour of the night, Enrico proceeds to assume a series of disguises to keep Don Annibale otherwise occupied. First he comes as a French dandy, then as an opera singer out of voice, and last as a querulous old man with an endless prescription. Rid of this patient at last, Annibale starts upstairs, only to set off the fireworks that Enrico had obligingly planted. The ensuing uproar brings out the partygoers, now gathered to speed Annibale on his way to Rome, where he must see about an inheritance. Enrico wishes him a lifetime of nights as happy as the one just past, a sentiment enthusiastically endorsed by all but Don Annibale....

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