|Pietro Di Bianco|
Encouraged by Rossini, the composer had a number of successful operas early in his career, including Violenza e Constanza, Maria Stuarda: Regina di Scozia and Elisa e Claudio. Rossini invited him to Paris in 1836, where he composed I Briganti for four of the best-known singers of the time, Giulia Grisi, Giovanni Battista Rubini, Antonio Tamburini and Luigi Lablache. While in Paris, he was influenced by the operas of Meyerbeer and Halévy and began to stress greater drama in opera.
Mercandante became part of the "Reform Movement" after the publication of Giuseppe Mazzini's Filosofia della musica. During this time, he composed his greatest works, including Il giuramento, Elena da Feltre and Francesco Florimo. These works made him one of the most popular composers of the time, before being eclipsed by Giovanni Pacini and the early works of Giuseppe Verdi. After his death in 1870, his operas began to fade in popularity, unlike his contemporaries Donizetti and Bellini.
Ettore Bastianini sings Mercadante's Sogno:
Didone abbandonata is part of his early period and is based on a classical libretto by the great poet Metastasio. The opera contains many of the trademarks of early 19th century operas, including scenes with cantabile and cabaletta for all the main characters, rousing ensembles, thrilling duets and grand finales. The suicide of the Carthaginian Queen Dido, abandoned by Aeneas and betrayed by Jarba, is composed as great death scene.
There will be performances on August 8, 12 and 14 at the Tiroler Landestheater. The cast also includes Viktorija Miškūnaité as Didone, Katrin Wundsam as Enea, Carlo Allemano as Jarba, Diego Godoy as Araspe and Emilie Renard as Selene. Tickets are available online.
In October, the Wexford Festival Opera will perform the composer's Il bravo.