Pia de' Tolomei
Tragedia lirica in Two Parts, libretto by Salvadore Cammarano
Distributed for Casa Ricordi
By the mid 1830s, as he began to dominate European stages, Gaetano Donizetti was pushing the boundaries of heightened romanticism in music, seeking texts that featured increasingly melodramatic and violent emotions and the savage consequences of irrational passion. Pia de’ Tolomei ranks among his more disquietingly intense and fast-paced works. Indeed, as one historian observed, there is ample reason to recognize Pia as one of the most strikingly pre-Verdian of all Donizetti’s operas.
Yet Pia was also a protean text, having no stable form, but changing in shape according to each new venue, as Donizetti returned to the score on a number of occasions. This critical edition reconstructs the premiere Venice version (1837) as the base text, but it offers in appendixes the possibility of reconstructing the two other principal versions, of Senigallia (1837) and Naples (1838).