Capriccio sull'opera

Roberto il Diavolo

Op. 117, PP.141.7

Giacomo Myerbeer (1791-1864) wrote Robert le diable in 1831 for the Paris Opera. It was an immediate and lasting hit, as seen here, in Italy as well. The 1862 date on its composition marks it as one of the few works from the Piacenza era that can even be dated. The cornet and flugelhorn in this score mark it as a bit of success that Ponchielli had early in his career in Piacenza with that city's mayor. The State Archive in Piacenza is full of notes on Ponchielli's signature blue notepaper pleading for improvements for the band and, particularly, its instrumentation. The cornet-flugelhorn combination was one of his very early favorites, and it is on display here. Another curiosity is the flicorno basso part in transposed treble clef, an event that occurs rarely throughout the scores.

In spite of the tiny size of the Piacenza band, Ponchielli was able to derive a considerable amount of music from meager resources. The few performances of this work belie the popularity of this opera with the Cremona audiences as There is also a final trio from Diavolo (also from Piacenza with the exact same instrumentation).

Date on score: November, 1862, Piacenza

Performances: Thursday, October 22, 1868, Piazza Garibaldi; Thursday, July 15, Piazza Garibaldi; Thursday, June 9, 1870, sull'area della demolita Chiesa di San Domenico; Thursday, September 14, 1871, Piazza Garibaldi.


Original as MP3

Original Adobe PDF