Donizetti Opera Festival Gala Offers Musical Performances & Comic Moments

By Francisco Salazar

The Donizetti Opera Festival presented a Gala performance for audiences around the world.

Hosted by Francesco Micheli and Riccardo Frizza, the gala showcased a number of artists who have performed with the festival and who will perform this season.

The gala included music from Donizetti with Xabier Anduaga and Alex Esposito presented selections from “L’Elisir d’Amore.” Paolo Bordogna also performed a buffo aria.

In a skit with his wife Giorgia Guerra, Celso Albelo mixed arias from “La Fille du Régiment,” “Don Pasquale,” and “L’Elisir d’Amore” with Spanish songs connecting Donizetti’s music to the traditional music he grew up with.

But the gala also gave audiences a chance inside the artist’s homes. Jessica Pratt edited a video from her farm where she showed audiences her animals and gardens while she told the story of “Lucia di Lammermoor;” Riccardo Frizza and Davinia Rodriguez rehearsed the final aria from “Roberto Devereux.”

Javier Camarena also appeared at one point playing video games throughout the gala. And when he was ready to perform, he sang his signature “Ah! mes ami” from “La Fille du Régiment.”

Carmela Remigio spoke about her partner Antonio, who works in a hospital and showed a picture of him on duty. She also introduced her cats and spoke about what she has been doing during the quarantine period.

Gianluca Capuano spoke about the production of “Don Pasquale,” which was set to be showcased at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival but wound up canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Sindaco from Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, also made a special appearance speaking about all that the city has done during the coronavirus crisis and the president of the American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival spoke about the new organization in the USA.

The event also showcased archive recordings from Riccardo Muti, “Il Pigmalione,” and “Maria Stuarda” and “La Fille du Régiment” from the Metropolitan Opera. But the most moving moment of the gala was a montage of images from an empty Bergamo and the hospitals with music from “Anna Bolena” sung by Remigio.

During the event Micheli announced that in 2021, the festival will present “L’Elisir d’Amore.”

Throughout the evening artists also asked to donate to to help the city and its culture in this time of crisis.

At the end of the gala both Frizza and Micheli sent a message of hope stating that music will never be substituted and performances can only live. They thanked their audience and stated that they are working to make the 2020 festival happen.

The gala ended with the trio from “La Fille du Regiment” performed by Jessica Pratt, Paolo Bordogna, and Javier Camarena.