Opera Scotland

Zampa ou La fiancée de marbre; or the Marble Bride

Music

Louis-Joseph-Ferdinand Hérold (born Paris, 28 January 1791; died Paris, 19 January 1833)

Text

Anne-Honoré-Joseph Mélesville.

Source

Traditional story The Statue Bride.

 

Premières

First performance: Paris (Opéra Comique), 3 May 1831.

First UK performance: London (King’s Theatre, Haymarket), 19 April 1833.

First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Edinburgh Theatre), 1 May 1876.

Scottish Opera première: N/A.

 

Background

Hérold was an important figure in French opéra comique taking his musical style from Boieldieu and adding more sophisticated orchestration influenced by Rossini and Weber. After a period of study first with his father, and then at the Paris Conservatoire, he won the Prix de Rome, which allowed him to study in Italy, and his first opera was performed in Naples in 1815. In Paris, he spent the rest of his career on the music staff at the Théâtre-Italien and later at the Opéra. His most famous composition is probably the music for the ballet La fille mal gardée, and he had success with two operas at the end, Zampa and Le Pré aux Clercs. Zampa remained popular throughout the nineteenth century, in spite of the resemblance of the plot to some elements of Don Giovanni. Nowadays, only the overture has survived, and even that has become something of a rarity. The title role was composed for a light tenor, but when performed by the Carl Rosa company in the 1870s it was allotted to the charismatic baritone Charles Santley.

 

Main Characters

Zampa, a Sicilian pirate and libertine (tenor)

Camilla, the Count’s daughter (soprano)

Alfonso, engaged to Camilla (tenor)

Rita, a waiting maid (mezzo-soprano)

Daniel Capuzzi, Zampa's boatswain (bass)

Dandolo, Rita's intended (tenor)

Statue of Alice Manfredi (mezzo-soprano)

 

Plot Summary

Zampa is the chief of a band of corsairs. When they attack the island of Castel Lugano, and capture the Count, he forces the Count’s daughter Camilla to save her father by leaving with him, abandoning her fiancé Alfonso in the process, while being compelled to keep the reason from Alfonso's knowledge. The corsairs' celebrations of this new betrothal take place in the presence of a marble statue of Alice, a girl Zampa had previously abandoned. He contemptuously places a ring on the finger of the statue, which he orders to be thrown into the sea. Camilla begs to be permitted to enter a convent. It emerges that Zampa’s true identity is Count of Monza, and that he is therefore Alfonso’s renegade brother. When he attempts to abduct Camilla from the convent, he is dragged into the sea by the scorned statue, leaving Camilla to marry Alfonso, as originally intended. There is a comic sub-plot involving a maid, Rita, who, believing herself a widow and planning a second marriage, is confused to discover her husband among Zampa's followers.

The Cast

Alfonso
 betrothed to Camilla
Camilla
 daughter of the Count
Corsair
 a follower of Zampa
Dandolo
 Rita's intended
Daniel Capuzzi
 a follower of Zampa
Rita
 a waiting maid
Statue
 of Alice Manfredi, once Zampa's betrothed
Zampa
 a Sicilian corsair and libertine

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