Me Voglio fa’ ‘na Casa – Track 4

Gaetano Donizetti, despite composing almost 70 operas, of which many are well-loved and frequently performed, the journey of his career could be compared to the lives portrayed in some of the great inspirational sports movies.  A genre of film that celebrates the underdog, working towards achieving the seemingly impossible task. A recent favourite of mine was “McFarland USA” (Great suggestion Dad). I really enjoyed this film and found the story very motivating for a Sunday afternoon.

Gaetano Donizetti

Donizetti was born in 1797 in the outskirts of Bergamo, Italy. He was the fifth of six children, and the family lived in a cramped, windowless cellar in Borgo Canale. (If you are interested, the humble home of Donizetti is now a historical site, which you can visit). In Donald Macleod’s podcast, he suggests that Donizetti’s father had said “It is impossible that you will compose.” However, despite this unsupportive relationship and the lack of financial support to pursue music lessons, at the age of eight Donizetti secured a place as a chorister at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. It was here that he met a more positive role model, Johann Simon Mayr, who was the musical director of the church. Mayr persuaded the local authorities to set up a free school to train the choristers, allowing the talented boys to pursue their musical education even after their voices would break. Unfortunately, Donizetti at the timid age of nine was almost kicked out of the school for his lack of vocal talent. Luckily Mayr recognised his musical potential and persuaded the local authorities to let him stay. In 1811, this memory from Donizetti’s childhood would inspire him to produce a comedic composition il piccolo compositore di musica for the school’s summer showcase. The plot focuses on a little composer pleading and presenting why he should be able to stay at the school. Sound Familiar?

Here is a snippet of me singing ‘Me voglio fa’ ‘na casa’ composed by Donizetti.

To progress his talents further, in 1815 Mayr encouraged Donizetti and helped him to secure a place to study music at the Liceo Filarmonico in Bologna. Fun Fact: Rossini also studied music at this school.

Donizetti’s first professional commission lead him to create “Enrico di Borgogna” in 1818, which was premiered in Venice. Sadly, the performance flopped, and the composer returned to Bergamo. Shortly after his arrival, trouble was brewing! At this time of a divided Italy, Milan was under Austrian occupation and in 1820 the authorities ordered their young men to take arms. Donizetti reached out to Marianna Pezzoli-Grattaroli, a highly successful businesswoman from Bergamo, to whom the composer had dedicated several chamber music scores to. Thanks to the generosity of Marianna Pezzoli-Grattaroli, Donizetti was able to buy his exemption from military service. This gesture was greeted with dedicated study and Donizetti gradually established himself as a prolific and successful composer both locally and further afield.

However, Donizetti would encounter great sadness in his personal life. Donizetti was happily married to Virginia Vaselli, but sadly none of their three children survived. In 1830 Donizetti’s parents passed away, and one year later his wife did as well. This monumental misfortune and loneliness did not stop Donizetti from achieving international recognition for his opera Anna Bolena in 1830. The success of this opera would act as a catalyst and in the next eight years, he completed 25 operas working ever harder. It was during this period that he wrote some of his most popular works: L’elisir d’amore (1832), Lucia di Lammermoor and Maria Stuarda (both 1835). After a move to Paris in 1838, the composer’s successes grew to include La Fille du régiment (1840) and Don Pasquale (1843).

Donizetti was a pivotal pillar figure in the development of opera, and I hope his story motivates you this coming week. To give you a taster of his musical world, please listen to Me voglio fa’ na casa” with the translation below. I now find the text even more interesting, as I can imagine the composer looking back on his subterranean and humble beginnings, which might have inspired this childish dream of building a house out of peacock feathers and precious stones.

47 thoughts on “Me Voglio fa’ ‘na Casa – Track 4

  1. Dear Charlotte,
    Happy Valentine’s Day and I hope George hugs you real good in this cold weather. I enjoy reading your Blog keep the good work coming and may the Lord bless you real good.

    1. Thank you Rev Tim, I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog posts, not much performance going on at the moment but we’re keeping busy and had a lovely busy week.
      Blessings to you
      Charlotte

    1. I particularly like singing Donizetti’s music it suits my personality.
      Best wishes Timothy,
      Charlotte

  2. I loved that snippet of song Charlotte, it made me go to the track on your CD for a proper listen, lovely! 👏👏👏 another super blog! 🥰😘

    1. Thanks Gill, hope you enjoyed the track more with the extra bit of information. Hope you and Terry are doing well and coping with this lockdown. 🥰💕
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. Well done, a nice article and a nice layout of the video and photos. Thank you for this beautiful sharing Charlotte.
    Very nice week, take care of You and George, best thoughts to you both. Amitiés !!

    1. Thank you Pascal I’m enjoying learning how to use the program. Are you looking forward to Spring? Is it warm weather yet where you are?
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. A bit overcast but mild in London, went for a long walk today. The crocus and spring flowers are breaking through which are lovely to see. I must get some violets for the balcony a lovely flower.

    1. Thank you Rebecca I’m glad you’re enjoying the stories behind the songs. 💕
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Don I’m glad you’re enjoying the stories behind the songs.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. A Happy Valentines Day to you and George! ❤️ I always enjoy reading the history behind the music you perform. Thank you for that, and for sharing your beautiful voice and piano with readers!

    1. Thank you Lavinia I’m pleased that you enjoy the stories behind the songs, we had a lovely Valentine’s Day quite often we don’t get to spend it together.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Yes Sheila I agree I always enjoy reading about people that succeeded against the odds.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. Hope you and George had a nice Valentine’s Day. I was fascinated with the history of Donizetti. I’ve always wondered how we ever got this far in both arts and science. In the “olden” days, everything was much more judgmental, and you had to stay in your “lane” so to speak. Simply, rising above expectations wasn’t well received. And, if you didn’t have a mentor and benefactor like Donizetti had, well who knows what would have happened.

    Anyway, you’ll be glad to know (or maybe not), I’ve been playing guitar and piano more in the evenings. I’ve seen practically everything on television, so I figured I might need to entertain myself.

    Again, you and George, take care. Stay well, stay safe.

    1. I am pleased to hear you’re getting in your practice I hope you’re learning some new music. I was talking to my Nana yesterday and she said she’s getting sick of tv.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. I’m glad you watched the film it is fab. One of the actual lead guys Thomas Valles contacted me on facebook after reading my post to thank me for recommending the film I was thrilled. These guys really inspired me.
        Best wishes
        Charlotte

  6. I wonder how many children listen to the adult who tells them they’ll never accomplish something. How many should we know for their work today, but the child’s journey to success never began? Destined to become great by inspiring many, but decided to listen to naysayers instead of their own heart. Ultimately, turning a lie into the truth. Breathing your entire Life without Living a single day. Dying before you’re even Born.

    1. Lots Eric, my little brother dropped a subject in year 9 at school because the teacher he had that year gave him a bad end of year review, the teacher didn’t even know him properly and the other teacher who’d taught him the previous two years was shocked he didn’t pick her subject for GCSE. Totally changed his destiny but he’s happy now.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thanks Noelle, I always think of my Nan she likes the foreign language songs but always says she wishes she can understand what I’m singing and quite often I find out new information when I research songs so I like to share that.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. Love this post, Charlotte!
    The music history is fascinating. Love your album! Everyone should have it.
    Sent a DM with drawing of Lala. Hope you love it!

    Best to you and George! ❦

    1. Ooo I’ll take a look today, I had to take the apps down because I had a lot of concentrate on this week. Thanks for the heads up.

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