Masterpieces of Italian Opera

The Edition

The majority of today’s operatic repertoire is Italian. However many of its most popular or significant works are not available in a critical edition. Bärenreiter’s new series, Masterpieces of Italian Opera, emerged from the demand for such editions, for both performance and research purposes. Conceived in collaboration with the late Philip Gossett and co-edited by Andreas Giger and Francesco Izzo, Masterpieces of Italian Opera commences with a set of four operas; the series is planned to be continued.

When the curtain rises on a performance of an Italian opera, few performers or listeners are aware that the work may have been revised by the composer, altered by censors, incorrectly reproduced by copyists, modified by singers and conductors, and further altered by publishers. Thus, performers and scholars often find it impossible to discern the composer’s original work from the subsequent revisions, modifications, and additions. On the basis of all relevant sources and the latest research, Masterpieces of Italian Opera restores the authoritative versions of some of the most significant works.

Aware of the rich performance tradition, Masterpieces of Italian opera also allows for the performance of alternative, historically coherent versions via materials provided in the appendixes.

These include, for instance, the shorter original version of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s „Pagliacci“; the original version of Pietro Mascagni’s „Cavalleria rusticana“ with restored cuts and occasional higher keys; an alternate finale of Gaetano Donizetti’s „Caterina Cornaro“; and a later version of Domenico Cimarosa’s „Il matrimonio segreto“, with a different structure and additional arias.

Each volume contains, in English and Italian, a historical introduction, a description of the sources, and discussions regarding performance practice issues. The Critical Commentary, which provides alternative readings and justifications of editorial decisions, will be available in English on the Bärenreiter website.

These editions are mostly prepared in conjunction with specific performances or in consultation with leading conductors and singers. By means of this collaborative effort, Bärenreiter is able to offer editions that allow the operas to shine in their original splendor, satisfying performers, audiences, and scholars alike.

Publication schedule

Please find an overview here.

Subscription Guidelines

This series starts with four operas; the series is planned to be continued. The first four volumes can be purchased individually or complete at specially reduced subscription prices. We will inform you about the continuation of this series in due time.

Each volume (Ital./Engl.) contains an Introduction, a description of the sources as well as notes on performance practice. The Critical Commentary (Engl.)  will be available on the Bärenreiter website free of charge.

Format 26 x 33 cm, cloth-bound

On the basis of these full scores, Bärenreiter will publish performance materials

For further information please ask your customer service.