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date: 11 November 2019

Betly [ Betly, ossia La capanna svizzera (‘Betly, or The Swiss Chalet’)]locked

  • William Ashbrook

Extract

[ Betly, ossia La capanna svizzera (‘Betly, or The Swiss Chalet’)]

Dramma giocoso, originally in one act, later revised in two, by Gaetano Donizetti to his own libretto after Eugène Scribe and Mélesville ’s [A.-H.-J. Duveyrier’s] libretto for Adolphe Adam’s Le châlet, ultimately derived from Goethe’s Singspiel Jery und Bätely (1780); Naples, Teatro Nuovo, 21 August 1836 (revised version, Naples, probably Teatro del Fondo, 29 September 1837).

Daniele (tenor) arrives at Betly’s chalet, delighted to have what purports to be a letter from her in which she agrees to marry him. In fact, village jokers wrote the letter, taking advantage of his simplicity; Betly (soprano) declares she knows nothing of it and asserts her independence (aria, ‘In questo semplice modesto asilo’). Her brother, Max (baritone), a corporal who has not been home for years, decides not to tell Betly who he is, and, favourably impressed with Daniele, determines to assist him in his wooing of Betly. Max’s plan involves lodging his troops in her house and provoking Daniele to a duel. This stratagem achieves the double purpose of causing Daniele to show some spirit and of persuading Betly that her independence has left her unprotected; she accepts Daniele in marriage (arias, ‘Se crudele il cor mostrai’ end ‘Ah no! non posso esprimere’)....

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