Gaetano Donizetti, Saverio Mercadante, and the Evolution and Development of the Verdi Baritone
AuthorKrueger, Nathan Elliott
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe leading baritone roles in the operas of Giuseppe Verdi, known as Verdi baritone roles, presented new challenges for the singers who first interpreted these roles. Their demanding tessitura and complex characterizations tested the skill of a generation of singers who began their careers singing the roles of Gioacchino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Saverio Mercadante, Vincenzo Bellini and Giovanni Pacini in the lighter, bel canto style. The purpose of this study is to examine the careers of singers active in Italy between 1830 and 1845 and to provide insight as to which roles written before the premiere of Verdi's Nabucco contained similar vocal and characterization demands. Through examination of available Italian opera house annals, ten singers were identified by the author as precursors to the Verdi baritone, and are categorized into three groups: the pre-Verdi baritones, the transitional baritones and the established Verdi baritones. A brief biography of each singer is included, as well as an appendix for each singer that includes roles performed, dates and locations of the performances. The title role in Donizetti's Torquato Tasso and the role of Manfredo in Mercadante's Il giuramento were determined to be the roles most similar to Verdi's Nabucco. Each role is analyzed in terms of characterization and tessitura demands, and is compared using tessitura charts that account for the frequency and duration of individual pitches. The roles are divided into sections, and each section is designated by its overall range, primary tessitura, secondary tessitura, and weighted pitches. These designations provide quantifiable evidence that each role presents similar challenges for the baritone.
Degree ProgramGraduate College