Given all that history, both musical and political, it's no surprise that Venice also became a popular setting for operas. The most famous opera set in Venice is probably Ponchielli's steamy drama La Gioconda. But there are plenty of other examples. Verdi took advantage of the Venetian mystique in his powerful but neglected drama I Due Foscari. And Donizetti not only features the city as a setting for Caterina Cornaro, he gives Venice's powerful Council a leading role as the opera's primary villain. Though it's not one of Donizetti's better known scores, the concise drama and pure, emotional energy of this opera make it one of his most compelling.
On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents Caterina Cornaro from the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier in France. Soprano Maria Pia Piscitelli gives a riveting performance in the title role, with tenor Enea Scala as the man Caterina loves, and baritone Franco Vassallo as the man she actually marries. The production is led by conductor Paolo Carignani.
Caterina Cornaro: Maria Pia Piscitelli (soprano)
Gerardo: Enea Scala (tenor)
Lusignano: Franco Vassallo (baritone)
Mocenigo: Francois Lis (bass)
Andrea Cornaro: Paul Gay (bass)
Mathilde: Julie Knecht (soprano)
Strozzi: Yves Saelens (tenor)
King's Knight: Franck Bard (tenor)
Latvian Radio Chorus
Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Orchestra
Paolo Carignani, conductor