Alfredo il grande

Alfredo il grande (Alfred the Great) is a melodramma serio or serious opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Andrea Leone Tottola wrote the Italian libretto, which may have been derived from Johann Simon Mayr's 1818 opera of the same name. The opera tells the story of the Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great.

This opera, with its "highly Rossini-influenced score"[1] was Donizetti's first exploration into British history, but it turned out to be a spectacular failure. It received its premiere on 2 July 1823 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and this also became its last performance.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 2 July 1823
(Conductor: Nicola Festa)
Alfredo, King of England tenor Andrea Nozzari
Amalia, his Queen soprano Elisabetta Ferron
Eduardo, General of the English army bass Pio Botticelli
Atkins, General of the Danish army bass Michele Benedetti
Enrichetta, an English country girl mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Cecconi
Margherita, another country girl soprano Gaetana Gorini
Rivers, a Dane tenor Gaetano Chizzola
Guglielmo, pastore tenor Massimo Orlandini
Chorus of shepherdesses, English warriors, Danish warriors, armed shepherds


Time: The ninth century
Place: Isle of Athelny in Somerset


  • Opera Rara, 2004. The Young Donizetti disc contains the cavatina Non é di morte il fulmine sung by Bruce Ford. London Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor: David Parry. ORR 229.
  • Opera Rara, 1998. Della Jones Sings Donizetti contains Che potrei dirti, o caro? sung by Della Jones, with Theresa Goble, Ian Platt, Linda Kitchen, Brendan McBride, and David Ashman. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conductors Paul McGrath and David Parry. ORR 203.



  1. Osborne 1994, p. 153

Cited sources

  • Osborne, Charles, (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-71-3

Other sources

  • Allitt, John Stewart (1991), Donizetti: in the light of Romanticism and the teaching of Johann Simon Mayr, Shaftesbury: Element Books, Ltd (UK); Rockport, MA: Element, Inc.(USA)
  • Ashbrook, William (1982), Donizetti and His Operas, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23526-X
  • Ashbrook, William (1998), "Donizetti, Gaetano" in Stanley Sadie (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. One. London: Macmillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
  • Ashbrook, William and Sarah Hibberd (2001), in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4. pp. 224 – 247.
  • Black, John (1982), Donizetti’s Operas in Naples, 1822—1848. London: The Donizetti Society.
  • Loewenberg, Alfred (1970). Annals of Opera, 1597-1940, 2nd edition. Rowman and Littlefield
  • Sadie, Stanley, (Ed.); John Tyrell (Exec. Ed.) (2004), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edition. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-19-517067-2 (hardcover). ISBN 0-19-517067-9 OCLC 419285866 (eBook).
  • 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
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