Back to index of Justin Holland's "Scraps From The Operas"
Opera: La Favorita (The Favorite)
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Premiere: Paris, 1840.
Note: Original French title is La Favorite.
Scrap 1: Marziale.
In Act 3 of 4, Fernando returns a war hero and is told by the king to choose his reward. He asks to marry a certain lady. The king agrees, but it quickly comes out the lady is the king's own mistress, Leonora, the "Favorite" of the title. In anger, the king sticks to his promise. Leonora is torn by this development; she loves Fernando but knows the marriage will cause him great shame when he finds out what she is. In this aria, Scritto in cielo e il mio dolor ("Heaven itself decreed my grief"), she says to strew flowers on the the altar cloth; the grave has opened at her feet. She is cursed and cannot hope for pardon.
Scrap 2 (1:32): (no new tempo indication shown)
Fernando is eventually told what the situation is and he renounces all of the king's rewards. He returns to the monastery to take his vows. Leonora, near death, comes to the monstery to ask for forgiveness. She begs him to overcome his hatred and show some of heaven's clemency. Fernando relents and forgives Leonora. In the process of doing so his love for her reawakens. In Act 4, at the end of the opera, he sings Vieni, ah vien! Io m'abbanbdono ("Come, oh come! I yield myself without reserve to joy and love!") He urges Leonora to fly with him. Leonora is ecstatic, but knows this is impossible. By the end of the duet, she is dead.
Scrap 3 (2:26): (no new tempo indication shown)
In Act 2, King Alfonso sings of his love for his mistress Leonora: De' nemeci tuoi lo sdegno ("Your enemies' disdain I will challenge for your sake"). He will give her his realm and his soul. He will make her his queen, his "life's companion in the eyes of heaven."
WARNING: This is probably our least successful of the 20 scraps. If you know how Leonora comes screaming in on "Scritto in cielo" you're in for a disappointment right off the bat. And there's a kind of sameness to the three sections which we didn't overcome. Holland didn't even supply new tempo indications for the 2nd and 3rd sections. And there are a few mistakes and typos which we didn't catch, like four extraneous measures (16-19) in the first section, and the pickup notes into the 3rd section printed a third high.
On the other hand, maybe we come closest to sounding like amateur guitarists from Holland's time on this one. :-)
PLAY OPERA SCRAP NO. 19 - "Favorita"
Next Opera Scrap: No. 20 - "Crown Diamonds"
Previous Opera Scrap: No. 18 - "Sicilian Vespers"
Index of all 20 "Scraps From The Operas"
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