La romanziera e l'uomo nero

La romanziera e l'uomo nero (also known as La romanzesca e l'uomo nero) is an 1831 one-act farsa with music by Gaetano Donizetti and an Italian libretto by Domenico Gilardoni, possibly based on the 1819 play La donna dei romanzi by Augusto Bon.[1] Other suggested sources include L'homme noir (1820) by Eugene Scribe and Jean-Henri Dupin[2] and Le coiffeur et le perruquier (1824) by Scribe, Édouard-Joseph-Ennemond Mazères and Charles Nombret Saint-Laurent.[3]

Performance history

The opera was premiered on 18 June 1831 at the Teatro del Fondo, Naples, and there was only one further performance. The words and music of the arias and ensembles have survived, but the spoken dialogue has been lost. The opera's music was performed in 1982 at the Camden Festival, and in Fermo in 1988. In November 2000, staged performances took place in Rovigo with dialogue re-created by Michelangelo Zurletti from the Scribe plays on which the opera may have been based.[3]

Of this work Ashbrook writes:

The plot is a satire on Romanticism: in the rondo-finale Antonina assures her father that she will give up willows, cypresses, urns and ashes, and take up more appropriate pursuits like singing and dancing and going to the opera.

He also points out that Filidoro's canzonetta is a parody of the Gondolier's song from Rossini's Otello.[4]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 18 June 1831[5]
The Count (il Conte) bass Gennaro Ambrosini
Antonina, his daughter soprano Luigia Boccabadati
Chiarina, his niece mezzo-soprano Marietta Gioia-Tamburini
Fedele, hoping to marry Chiarina tenor Francesco Salvetti
Carlino, the son of a friend of the Count tenor Lorenzo Lombardi
Filidoro, the man in black (l'uomo nero) baritone Antonio Tamburini
Tommaso, his uncle bass Gennarino Luzio
Trappolina, Antonia's governess soprano Anna Manzi-Salvetti
Giappone, the Count's majordomo bass Tauro
Nicola, a servant bass

List of musical numbers

Scene Description Performed by First lines of sections
1 Introduction Giappone, Carlino, Il Conte, Fedele,
Chiarina, Trappolina, Tommaso
"Vi prego, avanti avanti" ... "M'insulta, corbella!"
2 Cavatina Antonia, Tommaso, Trappolina "Oh Elodia solitaria"
3 Canzonetta Filidoro "Non v'e maggio dolore"
3 Duet Antonia, Filidoro "Ciel! Fia ver? Mio Filidoro!" ... "Ahi la mia nascita" ...
"Fuggir da queste mura"
4 Trio Tommaso, Chiarina, Fedele "Cinque sensi appena nato" ... "L'occhietto semi-chiuso"
5 Duet Chiarina, Filidoro "Che paura! Che paura!" ... "Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!"
6 Trio Nicola, Antonia, Tommaso/
Tommaso, Nicola, Trappolina
"Fuggiam, fuggiam!" ... "Ei stresso! La mia vittima" ...
"Destrieri infocati"
7 Rondo finale Antonia, Conte, Fedele, Carlino, Filidoro/
Filidoro, Antonia, All
"Si, colpevole son io" ... "Lascio l'ombre ed I fantasmi"


Year Cast:
(Antonia, Chiarina, Fedele, Carlino, Filidoro, Tommaso)
Conductor, Orchestra, Chorus Label
2000Elisabetta Scano,
Adriana Cicogna,
Bruce Ford,
Paul Austin Kelly,
Pietro Spagnoli,
Bruno Praticò
David Parry,
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Audio CD: Opera Rara
Cat: ORC19[6]
2000Patrizia Cigna,
Claudia Marchi,
Giovanni Gregnanin,
Patrizio Saudelli,
Alessandro Calamai,
Gian Paolo Fiocchi
Franco Piva,
Orchestra Filarmonica Veneta "G. F. Malipiero",
Coro del Teatro Sociale di Rovigo
Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GB 2287/88-2 (2 CDs)
Recorded live on 25 and 26 November 2000



  1. Ashbrook & Hibberd 2001, p. 231.
  2. Osborne 1994, pp. 201–202, and Ashbrook 1982, p. 551.
  3. Michele Zurletti, Rovigo.
  4. Ashbrook 1982, p. 324.
  5. Premiere cast list from Casaglia 2005. Note that Ashbrook 1982, p. 511, and Weinstock 1963, p. 328, have incomplete premiere cast lists with Tamburini as Carlino rather than Filidoro.
  6. "Review - Donizetti". Gramophone. November 2000. Retrieved 8 November 2010.

Cited sources

  • Ashbrook, William (1982). Donizetti and His Operas. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052123526X (hardcover). ISBN 0-521-27663-2 (paperback). Snippet view at Google Books.
  • Ashbrook, William; Hibberd, Sarah (2001). "Gaetano Donizetti", pp. 224–247 in The New Penguin Opera Guide, edited by Amanda Holden. New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4.
  • Casaglia, Gherardo (2005)."La romanziera e l'uomo nero". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  • Osborne, Charles (1994). The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-71-3.
  • 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. OCLC 601625.
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