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Caterina Cornaro

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  • Caterina Cornaro

Caterina Cornaro

Gaetano Donizetti

2 disc set

CD £28.99

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PDF booklet included free (full album only)

- £16.99


MP3 file at maximum MP3 quality i.e. 320 kbps per second. Will play in nearly all media players in Windows and Apple.

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FLAC 16 bit

Open-source format, here at 16 bit i.e. lossless CD quality. Will play in VLC player (free to download from Can be converted to MP3.

- £16.99

ALAC 16 bit

Apple format, here at 16 bit i.e. lossless CD quality; this is better than MP3 320 kbps. Will play in iTunes. Can be converted to MP3.

- £19.99

FLAC 24 bit

Open-source format, here at 24 bit i.e. lossless studio master quality; this is better than a CD and is only available on this website. Will play in VLC player (free to download from Can be converted to MP3.

- £19.99

ALAC 24 bit

Apple format, here at 24 bit i.e. lossless studio master quality; this is better than a CD and is only available on this website. Will play in iTunes. Can be converted to MP3.

Caterina Cornaro was written in the extremely productive last period of Donizetti's life (between Don Pasquale and Linda di Chamounix) and was in fact the very last of his operas to be premiered in his... read more

Song title Time Format Price
playstop01 Caterina Cornaro: Preludio01:32
playstop02 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Salve, o beati, al giubilo’01:51
playstop03 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Tu l’amor mio, tu l’iride’04:55
playstop04 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Dell’empia Cipro il popolo’03:49
playstop05 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Parta pur, ma vendicato sarà’02:14
playstop06 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Or che l’astro in mar si cela’01:25
playstop07 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Torna all’ospite tetto’02:16
playstop08 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Vieni o tu, che ognora io chiamo’03:04
playstop09 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Deh! vieni, t’affretta’03:14
playstop10 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Ahi – qui ancor, padre mio?’04:29
playstop11 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Spera in me, della tua vita’04:37
playstop12 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Va, crudel; maledetto quel giorno’03:01
playstop13 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Sei bella, o Cipro!’03:28
playstop14 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Credi che dorma, o incauto’01:16
playstop15 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Lasciami, o cavalier’00:58
playstop16 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Da che sposa Caterina’03:45
playstop17 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Core, e pugnale!’03:27
playstop18 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Mano a’ pugnali!’02:43
playstop19 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Parla, ardisci: io son quel desso’01:14
playstop20 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Vedi, io piango!’03:14
playstop21 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Che qui non batte un core ingrato’02:21
playstop22 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Sì, dall’ardir degl’empi/Dunque tu vuoi dividere’02:41
playstop23 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Gemmata il serto’04:12
playstop24 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Guarda, s’avanza il Re’01:41
playstop25 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Ah! non turbarti a questi accenti’03:01
playstop26 Caterina Cornaro: ‘O Re! Strozzi?’02:33
playstop27 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Da quel dì che lacerato’03:52
playstop28 Caterina Cornaro: ‘De me fosti ognor compianto, fratel mio’03:57
playstop29 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Parti’01:39
playstop30 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Indietro! Io, vil carnefice’02:49
playstop31 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Olà! Gran re, la collera vendicatrice è tarda’00:58
playstop32 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Va, fellon; di questa terra’02:23
playstop33 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Misera patria!’01:54
playstop34 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Io trar non voglio campi ed onori’02:26
playstop35 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Guerra! Guerra!’00:59
playstop36 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Morte, morte! Fur troppi gl’insulti’03:04
playstop37 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Oh ciel! che tumulto!’01:30
playstop38 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Dolorosa incertezza!’01:18
playstop39 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Pietà, Signor’03:08
playstop40 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Vittoria! Vittoria!’01:29
playstop41 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Orsù... della vittoria’ ***FREE TRACK***02:32
playstop42 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Non più affanni’03:32
playstop43 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Vittoria! Vittoria!’02:34
playstop44 Caterina Cornaro: ‘Piangi, sì piangi, o misera’02:51

Caterina Cornaro was written in the extremely productive last period of Donizetti's life (between Don Pasquale and Linda di Chamounix) and was in fact the very last of his operas to be premiered in his lifetime. Like every other work of this period, it is intensely original, in this case being unusually dark in both subject matter and general musical tone. This is the only opera of this later period not to have had the benefit of a decent modern recording. 

The story is resonant and believable, a woman forced into a political marriage with a king she does not love, but who turns out to be noble and good, so that she feels that she cannot abandon him, and who is assassinated at the instigation of a bitter enemy, leaving her to rule on her own. This calls up from Donizetti one of his most deeply felt, atmospheric and dramatically truthful scores.

The 2CD set comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation. Article and synopsis by the eminent 19th-century musical scholar, Jeremy Commons.

Click here to visit the Official Opera Rara YouTube page and hear an excerpt from this recording

Carmen Giannattasio (Caterina Cornaro), Colin Lee (Gerardo), Troy Cook (Lusignano), Vuyani Mlinde (Mocenigo), Graeme Broadbent (Andrea Cornaro), Loïc Félix (Strozzi/A Knight of the King), Sophie Bevan (Matilde). BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra, David Parry - conductor


SCENE ONE.  A hall in the Cornaro palace in Venice, about the middle of the 15th century.  Knights and Ladies have gathered to attend the wedding of Caterina, the daughter of Andrea Cornaro, to a French knight by the name of Gerardo, and in the presence of all the bride and groom express their undying love for each other.  Just as they are about to leave for church, however, a masked figure appears and demands that the ceremony be broken off.  Left alone with Andrea, he reveals himself as Mocenigo, a member of the Council of Ten.  It is the Senate’s wish, he tells Andrea, that for political reasons Caterina should become the wife of Lusignano, the King of Cyprus.  He then leaves with a threat of death should there be any refusal.

An astonished and frightened Andrea informs the returning company that there can be no wedding.  In the face of general consternation and indignation, on the part of Gerardo especially, he bids all be gone.  A dismayed Caterina tears off her bridal adornments and heaps recriminations upon her hapless father.

SCENE TWO.  Caterina, in her private apartment, listens to distant gondoliers, singing as they return to their wives and families in the evening, and contrasts their happiness with her own situation.  Very soon, however, her maid and confidante, Matilde, brings her a note from Gerardo, in which he declares that he intends to come that very evening to free her from her bondage.  She eagerly looks forward to their eloping together.

Yet before he can arrive, she receives a decidedly less welcome visit from her father who, telling her of the Senate’s plans for her, adds that a refusal upon her part would mean Gerardo’s assassination.  All this is confirmed by Mocenigo, who urges her to tell Gerardo that she no longer loves him and that she aspires to a more illustrious marriage.  He also shows her several mercenary cut-throats, lurking in an adjoining secret chamber with their daggers at the ready.

 Gerardo arrives, ardently urging her to flee with him.  He becomes increasingly shocked and dismayed as she tells him she does not love him, but any wavering upon her part is banished as Mocenigo, unseen by Gerardo, appears in the doorway of the secret chamber and threateningly points to his cut-throats.  Gerardo mentions that he has heard a  rumour that she is to marry a king, and she can only confirm its truth.  In his anger he solemnly curses the day he met her, and departs, leaving her in a swoon.


SCENE ONE.  A square in Nicosia by night, with the sea, dotted with ships, in the background.  Mocenigo, alone, speaks of the riches of Cyprus, and of his intention to bring the island beneath the yoke of Venice.  Strozzi, the leader of his cut-throats, brings him news of the arrival of Gerardo, armed, in Cyprus.  Mocenigo urges him to gather his desperadoes together, and to waylay and murder the young Frenchman.

After they have left, Lusignano makes his appearance, disguised as a commoner.  He is well aware that the Venetians plot his downfall, but he is determined to resist, and if possible, to foil them.  He is particularly motivated by his knowledge of the unhappiness they have brought upon Caterina by forcing her to marry him.

Strozzi’s ruffians enter, intent upon their dastardly business, and they have no sooner left the stage than the voice of Gerardo is heard, calling for help.  A moment later, however, Strozzi is seen fleeing, for his attempt upon Gerardo’s life has failed, and the latter appears, rescued from death by Lusignano.  Little by little they discover each other’s identity.  Both are Frenchmen: Gerardo learns that his saviour is the King, whom he had hitherto thought of with hatred as the man who had stolen Caterina from him; Lusignano learns that he has saved the life of the man with whom Caterina had been in love.  Both realise that they are equally the victims of the machinations of Venice.  With his feelings now entirely reversed, Gerardo reveals that he has become a Knight Hospitaller and swears to devote his life to Lusignano’s service and protection.

SCENE TWO.   In  the palace Caterina’s ladies lament her manifest despondency and unhappiness.  Lusignano, too, does his best to cheer her, assuring her that he knows of the pressures to which she has been subjected and the sufferings she has had to endure.

Strozzi, who, it seems, also has a position as a member of the palace staff, informs Lusignano that a Frenchman wishes to speak with him.  Pleading his need to rest, Lusignano asks Caterina to receive the stranger in his stead.  As Strozzi ushers in the newcomer, he recognises him as Gerardo, and immediately hastens away to inform Mocenigo. 

Caterina finds herself face to face with her former lover, but her uneasiness is allayed when he shows her the cross about his neck and reveals that he has been to Rhodes and become a Knight Hospitaller.  She, in turn, tells how on the day that she had rejected him she had, in fact, saved him from the daggers of assassins.

Reconciled, they share their griefs together, but Gerardo then goes on to warn her that Lusignano’s life is in danger, since the Venetians are administering him a slow poison.  But then, just as he is reassuring her that he has come to help protect him, Mocenigo enters, declaring that any such protection arrives too late.  He admits that he is responsible for Lusignano’s illness, and that he fully intends to wrest Cyprus from his grasp, and then proceeds to try to blackmail Caterina, threatening that if she does not agree to act as he wishes, he will denounce her as an adulteress and accuse her of being the poisoner.  At this moment Lusignano appears and turns the tables by declaring that he himself will proclaim his wife’s innocence and Mocenigo’s villainy.  He summons his guards with the intention of having Mocenigo arrested, but the latter steps to the window and waves a scarf as a signal to those without.  A cannon-shot is immediately heard, and Mocenigo declares that Cyprus is in a state of war.  The act ends as he and Lusignano confront each other.


A courtyard in the palace.  Gerardo rallies the citizens of Nicosia to come to the aid of their king and fight the Venetians.  All race away to join battle.

In consternation Caterina’s ladies describe the fray they see raging outside, but while Caterina prays for divine assistance and deliverance, cries of exultation are heard and the returning populace brings news of Lusignano’s victory.  Their rejoicing is short-lived, however, for when Lusignano enters, he is supported by Gerardo and is manifestly mortally wounded.  He has just time to take leave of Caterina and Gerardo before he dies.

As his corpse is carried away, Caterina draws herself up to her full height, and urges her people that, just as God has protected them, so they should swear allegiance to her and give her their protection.

Gerardo, now that he believes his task completed, takes his leave as all the populace kneel before their Queen.

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