Gaetano Donizetti’s ‘mini opera’ Aristea follows the 19th-century fashion for composing celebratory scenic works with a large cast and full orchestra, in this case to honour Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies. Librettist Giovanni Schmidt recycled Aristea from an earlier abandoned opera set in idyllic Greek surroundings. This tells the classical story of enforced separation of a father from his daughter, their subsequent confusions and final happy reunion. Donizetti’s early style was influenced by Rossini but is nevertheless independent and innovative, often hinting at his later operatic masterpieces.
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