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The American Friends Of The Donizetti Opera Festival Has Been Formed


THE AMERICAN FRIENDS OF THE DONIZETTI OPERA FESTIVAL (AFDOF) has been formed to support the efforts of the Donizetti Opera Festival, an international celebration held each November in Bergamo, Italy, the birthplace of Gaetano Donizetti. AFDOF is charged with encouraging the collaboration of scholars, artists, and Donizetti devotees in the United States and worldwide. Based in New York City, the non-profit organization's mission is to work closely with its Italian counterparts to raise awareness of the Festival and the works and life of the great Italian composer and of his hometown of Bergamo.

Recently recognized as the "Best Festival" at the "Oper! Awards" in Berlin, the fifth iteration of the Donizetti Opera Festival runs from November 12 through December 1, 2019 and features close to two dozen events. Among the notable performances are: Donizetti's Messa di Gloria performed in Bergamo's Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the composer's final resting place; staged performances of a pair of Donizetti rarities, the 1819 opera buffa Pietro il Grande, Czar delle Russie, and the premiere of the "rediscovered" opera L'ange de Nisida (1839); as well as one of his best-loved master­pieces, Lucrezia Borgia (1833). In addition, concerts are offered of the orchestral and chamber music of Donizetti, his teachers, contemporaries and those he influenced.

The Festival's Music Director is internationally recognized Italian repertoire specialist Riccardo Frizza. Maestro Frizza, who conducts the Festival's Gala concert, as well as Lucrezia Borgia, commented on the formation of AFDOF: "Donizetti has played a pivotal role in my musical life. The Donizetti Opera Festival celebrates one of the geniuses of the bel canto era and, as we commence the festival's fifth year (and my second as its Music Director), I am gratified to be associated with the creation of AFDOF, which will allow for greater expansion of knowledge and appreciation in the United States of Bergamo's most famous son."

World-renowned soprano Sondra Radvanovsky serves as the Chairman of AFDOF's Board of Artists and is enthused to lend her support to the efforts of the new organization, saying: "Donizetti's music is rewarding in every way - vocally, dramatically and emotionally - and I consider singing his works among the highlights of my career, thus far. I feel tremendously honored serving with this newly created foundation; it gives me a new and meaningful way to share my joy in performing Donizetti's music with others." Ms. Radvanovsky, closely identified with the works of the bel canto period, performed the rare feat of singing the lead roles in Donizetti's "Tudor Trilogy" (Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux) at the Metropolitan Opera in a single season (2015-16). She takes on another display of Donizettian virtuosity by singing the finales of those three operas in semi-staged performances at Lyric Opera of Chicago under the sure hand of Maestro Frizza (December 1, 4 & 7, 2019).

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