Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Francis Borgia, Fourth Duke of Gandia, Jordi Savall and Alia Vox offer a visually lavish and artistically comprehensive new release entitled Dinastia Borgia. Savall’s latest musicological/historical quest focuses on music from the time of the Borgia dynasty, including works by composers such as Isaac, Dufay and Morales, from Pope Alexander VI/6 and two of his children, Cesare and Lucrezia, through to Francis Borgia, Jesuit priest and, perhaps, composer. For five centuries, scholars have studied and debated the role of the Borgias in Renaissance history. Although their name is synonymous with Papal corruption and they were undoubtedly malevolent and immoral, as patrons of the arts, the Borgias were also instrumental in the period’s explosive growth of culture.
Lucrezia Borgia is a melodramma, or opera, in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after the play by Victor Hugo, in its turn after the legend of Lucrezia Borgia. Lucrezia Borgia was first performed on 26 December 1833 at La Scala, Milan with Lelande and Pedrazzi. While not performed as regularly as Donizetti's more popular operas, Lucrezia's aria "Com'è bello", Orsino's Brindisi "Il segreto per esser felice", the tenor's "Di pescator ignobile", and the bass aria "Vieni, la mia vendetta!" are all very effective and famous melodic moments from the opera and have been performed and recorded frequently.
When Montserrat Caballé sang her first aria, "Com'è bello", there was a perceptible change in atmosphere. It seemed for a moment that everyone had stopped breathing. What registered, of course, was an acute awareness that there was singing of a most unusual sort. It had , to put it simply, the quality of greatness […]. What emanates from Caballé's throat can best be described as total purity - purity in the sense of majestic power and natural expresiveness. John Gruen, Herald Tribune, about the debut of Caballé as Lucrezia Borgia, Carnegie Hall, 1965.
Lucrezia Borgia is a melodramma, or opera, in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after the play by Victor Hugo, in its turn after the legend of Lucrezia Borgia. Lucrezia Borgia was first performed on 26 December 1833 at La Scala, Milan with Lelande and Pedrazzi. The first London production was at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1839 with Giulia Grisi and Mario. When the opera was staged in Paris (Théâtre des Italiens) in 1840, Victor Hugo obtained an injunction against further productions within the domain of French copyright law...