Rhinegold The 6th Donizetti Opera Festival, streamed online this year via Donizetti web TV from 20 November to 6 December

Simon Smith

Watch the Donizetti Opera Festival streamed live from Bergamo

12:02, 13th November 2020


The launch of Donizetti web TV brings a global audience to performances in the newly restored Donizetti Theatre in Bergamo


The annual Donizetti Opera Festival celebrates the life, work and times of the Gaetano Donizetti who was born in Bergamo on 29 November 1797. This year, the music continues, but instead of playing to an opera-loving public who usually throng to this beautiful and historic city at the end of November, the festival’s operas will be available to global audiences watching from home via Donizetti web TV, a new online streaming service.

In the absence of a live audience in this year of pandemic restrictions, Donizetti  web TV has been launched as part of the 6th International Donizetti Festival to allow audiences around the world to subscribe and watch all the festival performances both live and on demand, as well as giving free access to archival material and a new behind-the-scenes documentary introducing this year’s programme, Donizetti Revolution vol 6, introduced by the festival’s artistic director Francesco Micheli (left).

Performances will take place in Bergamo’s newly restored Donizetti Theatre, whose origins date back to 1791, Donizetti web TV will give global audiences a chance to take a virtual tour of this impressive, splendidly restored opera house, exuding an austere neoclassical grandeur comparable to that of La Scala (which is just 13 years older). Slender marble columns flank the stage; winged angels support a clock positioned above. A ceiling fresco, painted in swirling pastels, displays allegorical characters and angels surrounding figures praising the triumph of music.

Three Donizetti operas feature in the 2020 festival programme: Marino Faliero, in a staging conceived by Stefano Ricci of the innovative ricci/forte arts production company, will be live streamed on Donizetti web TV and also on Italian television’s Rai 5 on Friday 20 November. Based on a drama by Casimir Delavigne (itself drawn from a poem by Byron), Donizetti’s opera explores life and death of the Doge Marino Faliero and his role in an unsuccessful coup against the venal and arrogant Venetian nobility. The opera marked Donizetti’s debut in Paris in 1835 and was performed alongside Bellini’s I puritani at the Théâtre Italien.

Roberto Frontali sings the title role of Belisario

Belisario (in a concert performance) will be streamed on Saturday 21 November. Loosely Inspired by the life of the 6th-century Byzantine general Belisarius, this intense, tragic opera concerns the downfall of a great military leader at the hands of his embittered and vengeful wife. The work was premiered at La Fenice in Venice in 1836.

Le nozze in villa, directed by Davide Marranchellie, can be seen on Donizetti web TV  on Sunday 22 November. This early comic opera by Donizetti has sketchy origins, with an incomplete score and libretto. The work is a classic romantic farce involving a young couple in love whose secret romance is in danger of being thwarted by an overbearing father and a ridiculous would-be fiancé. This new production reconstructs the opera for its first modern-day performance as part of the #donizetti200 project, which presents a production from a new edition of a Donizetti score every year. Included in the new edition is a lost quintet, re-imagined by satirists Elio and Rocco Tanica along with composer Enrico Melozzi.

World-class casting in this year’s festival features a roster of Italian singers who are familiar figures on the international stage:  Baritone Roberto Frontali  sings the role of Belisario while the bass Michele Pertusi appears as Marino Faliero. Other notable casting includes Celso Albelo, Carmela Remigio and Francesca Dotto. The Donizetti Festival’s music director Riccardo Frizza will conduct Marino Faliero and Belisario, while Stefano Montanari, a specialist in period-instrument performance, gives the modern-day premiere of  Le nozze in villa.

Performances start at 8pm in Italy (7pm GMT), with an introduction 30 minutes before the start. Subscribers will have access to the full programme of operas for the duration of the festival until 6 December 2020.

A €59 subscription to Donizetti web TV gives online access to all the performances from this year’s festival as well as a host of archival content. Alternatively, you can stream individual performances at a pay-per-view rate of €30 euros. Payment can be made online by credit card or via PayPal. Phone booking and subscriptionis also available: tel (+39) 035 4160601/602/603).

Subscribe to Donizetti web TV  here

A calendar of events at the 2020 Donizetti Opera Festival can be viewed here 


Support the Donizetti Opera Festival

The Donizetti Opera Festival has prepared specific packages for existing ticket holders, including a full refund by voucher or a chance to donate to the festival via the  #iorinuncioalrimborso campaign that has supported international theatres in recent months, transforming every spectator into a donor.


Donor schemes

The Donor Elisir package donates the full amount of a single ticket booking to the festival (if higher than 59 €) and gets you full access to web TV, priority booking for tickets to the 2021 festival, acknowledgement on the Festival Donors’ page, and free download of all the programme books, including librettos and listening guides.

The Donor Ange package donates the full season-ticket price to the festival. Donors at this level receive full access to Donizetti web TV, priority booking for next year and acknowledgements on the donors’ page. In addition, you will have access to two talks reserved for donors live on zoom with artistic director Francesco Micheli and music director Riccardo Frizza, and there will be a giftbox delivered to your door containing this year’s Festival T-shirt, a 2020 festival poster signed by Plácido Domingo, and a complete set of programme books and guides from this year’s event.




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