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Gaetano Donizetti - Ne m'oubliez pas (1842) - Romance for Henriette - "Oh! la belle campagne"





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Published on Jan 31, 2009

"Ne m'oubliez pas" was one of several works which Donizetti set out composing in the year 1843, at a time when his health was quickly failing and he was succumbing to the final stages of syphilis. A three-act comic opera, it was intended for the Paris Opera-Comique but was never finished, due to the composer's sudden death. Donizetti completed only seven numbers from the score, before, ironically (as the opera's title means "Don't forget me"), breaking off any further composition. The libretto, which was never found, was written by Marquis de Saint-Georges and involves a rather typical comedy, relating the abduction of the heroine, Henriette (soprano), by the immoral soldier Franz (baritone) which leads the woman's lover, Andre (tenor), to great jealousy (though, the absence of the libretto gives us only an opportunity to guess the other intricacies of the plot). It's difficult to truly evaluate the opera based solely on several numbers, virtually unlinked between each other, but the music is simply wonderful, presenting us with two very heartfelt romances for the lovers (and an even better duettino of reconciliation) and a rousing ballade for the soprano which makes one truly desire that Donizetti had finished the opera (if "Maria di Rohan", Donizetti's next to last opera, is any indication, then "Ne m'oubliez pas" should have been beautiful).

Presented here is the cavatina of the heroine, finding her in a particularly pensive mood, as she muses on her personal happiness. The structure is the traditional French couplets, contrasting the main arioso of delightful pensiveness with a more extroverted flourishes of "lalala" (in the manner of Manon's Cours-la-Reine scene by Massenet). A most worthy addition to Donizetti's already stunning array of romances.

Here the underrated Margreta Elkins sings the aria with a truly touching manner. Hope you'll enjoy :)!

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