La zingara (The Gypsy Girl) is an opera semiseria in two acts (1822) by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola, after La petite bohémienne (The Little Gypsy) by Louis-Charles Caigniez, which was itself derived from a work of August von Kotzebue.
It was Donizetti's first opera written for Naples and the first performance took place at the Teatro Nuovo on 12 May 1822. The soprano aria Fra l'erbe cosparse ("Sprinkled over the grass") was especially popular.
One critic reviewing the 2001 recording from the Festival della Valle d'Itria, made the following observations about the opera:
- "Despite its moronic libretto, the opera was an enormous success at its premiere in Naples in 1822, and even Bellini wrote nice things about the second-act septet in which Donizetti mixes buffo and serious characters, as well as Neapolitan dialect (there are no recitatives; numbers are separated by spoken dialogue) with "pure" Italian, and the absurd plot is (sort of) held together by the clever Argilla, who under the guise of telling fortunes gains entry to people's feelings as well as to every area of the castle. Is it a masterpiece? Even close? No, but there are niceties galore—rhythmic arias and ensembles, good (if typical) characterizations, and good tunes."
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 12 May 1822 |
(Conductor: - )
|Don Ranuccio Zappador||bass||Carlo Moncada|
|Don Sebastiano Alvarez||bass||Giuseppe Fioravanti|
|Duca d'Alziras||tenor||Alessandro Busti|
|Antonio Alvarez||tenor||Raffaele Sarti|
|Domestici di Zappador e di zingari, chorus|
- Time: The middle ages
- Place: Spain
Don Ranuccio has imprisoned Don Sebastiano in his castle and he also wants to kill the Duke of Alziras, his political rival. Ranuccio's daughter Ines is in love with Fernando, but her father wants her to marry Antonio who is Don Sebastiano's nephew.
Argilla, the gypsy girl of the title, brings together the lovers Ferrando and Ines, saves the life of the Duke, whom she brings together again with his brother, and frees Don Sebastiano, who turns out to be her father. Comedy is provided by the servant Pappacione, fooled into searching for gold in an old cistern. All ends happily.