It would be difficult to select a more perfect title for the union of these two one-act performances. Each is interesting in its own way, being fascinating, witty, romantic and wistful. Gaetano Donizetti’s Night Bell or Apothecary’s Wedding Night comic opera and charming Neapolitan songs, collected in the Hits of the Neapolitan District musical review, are united by the unique talent of Italian composers. Their creative legacy has long taken its rightful place in the ‘golden collection’ of world music.
Gaetano Donizetti wrote the score and libretto for Night Bell in 1836. He was delighted with the result, smiling at his own jokes and music, which ‘jumps’, obeying the rhythm of verses. His graceful comic opera is an easy addition to most theatrical companies’ repertoires and is ranked alongside his other opera masterpieces.
The plot is simple yet amusing: Don Annibale, an old apothecary, is newly married to young Serafina. As they prepare for their wedding night, young Enrico, Serafina’s delinquent lover, interrupts. He appears in several disguises, ringing the night bell and asking the unfortunate groom to fill a preposterous list of prescriptions.
Passionate Enrico’s artifices are just one of the fascinating peculiarities of the performance, which remains charming despite its predictability. International contest laureates Natalia Dementieva, Lesya Lyut, Andrey Morozov, Victor Tsirkunovich and Sergey Sutko play the leading roles. Anna Motornaya is the director-producer while Oleg Lesun conducts and Vyacheslav Inozemtsev choreographs. Susanna Tsiryuk directs the stage version of Hits of the Neapolitan District, with Alexandra Tikhomirova of Russia choreographing the ballet.
Of course, Italy is renowned for its wonderful musical traditions, being called the cradle of opera. However, we shouldn’t forget that it has also given the world amazing Neapolitan songs; the genre is still very popular. Think of such pearls as O Sole Mio, O Surdato ‘Nnamurato and Funiculi, Funicula. These world famous hits are sung by the world’s top performers.
Hits of the Neapolitan District depicts one day in the life of a small Italian town, where sunny Neapolitan songs are heard from every window, full of emotion and energy, tender and sensitive. The theme of love is ever significant, eternal through the centuries. The Belarusian State Academic Musical Theatre is inspiring in its use of improvisation, as appreciated by the audience.