American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival Holds First Luncheon

American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival Holds First Luncheon
On May 3, 2022, the American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival held its first luncheon at the Lotos Club in New York City.

The event marked the first for the organization, which supports artists in their studies on the Donizetti legacy and bel canto and the festival held in November.

The event opened with a cocktail hour in which guests were delighted with Hors d’oeuvres and champagne. That was followed by a lunch that consisted of three courses.

During the meal, the President and Chairman of the AFDOF Aranzazu Escudero de Zuloaga gave a few remarks about the organization and the double mission of the AFDOF.

“Three years ago Maestro Riccardo Frizza thought about the importance of having an organization in the United States of friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival. With the support of the Bergamo Festival, the professionalism of Karen Kriendler (former executive director of the Richard Tucker Foundation), and thanks to the legal activity pro-bono of the K&L Gates law firm in New York, at the end of 2019 the constitution of the ‘American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival Inc’ non-profit entity, 501 (C) (3) corporation, was created and has operated ever since,” Escudero de Zuloaga noted.

She added, that “due to the pandemic, the American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival decided to postpone its presentation until the member singers of its Artists’ Board, chaired by Sondra Radvanovsky, were performing at the Met Opera in the new production of ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ under the Maestro Frizza.”

Following Escudero de Zuloaga’s remarks, Music Director Riccardo Frizza spoke about the festival and its 2022 edition, which will see the event present “La Favorite” and two rarely performed works by Donizetti: “L’aio nell’imbarazzo” and “Chiara e Serafina.” Maestro Frizza also showcased two videos, one that summarized the festival and the other that gave guests an overview of the renovations to the famed Teatro Donizetti.

In attendance at the lunch were tenor Javier Camarena, who will perform at the festival in “La Favorite” and soprano Davinia Rodriguez, as well as Cesare Bieller, Italian consul in New York; Irene Asquini, Adjunct consul in New York; and Riccardo Cursi, vice Italian Consul in New York.

Following the lunch, guests were invited to see the “Lucia di Lammermoor” manuscript at the Italian Cultural Institute, which was brought to the United States from the Angelo Mai Library in Bergamo, for the first time on the occasion of the new production of “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Metropolitan Opera.

The autograph score of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor from Bergamo to New York for the new production at the MET conducted by Riccardo Frizza

The precious manuscript was on display from 21 April at the Italian Cultural Institute on Park Avenue

Lucia di Lammermoor is undoubtedly, together with L’elisir d’amore, the most famous opera by Gaetano Donizetti and the most performed throughout the world. Thanks to a 1985 donation by the Perolari family, the city of Bergamo was able to acquire the autograph score of this opera, which was first performed at the San Carlo Theatre in Naples in 1835. The score is preserved in the Mai Library. This precious manuscript travelled across the ocean for the first time to be exhibited at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York directed by Fabio Finotti on the occasion of the new production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera House with Riccardo Frizza on the podium.

On 21 April, at the ICI premises on Park Avenue, a round table was organized with the participation of Riccardo Frizza, musical director of the Donizetti Opera Festival, and the contribution of some videos prepared in Bergamo showing Bergamo and the treasures of the “Angelo Mai” Library.

It was also an opportunity to present the critical edition of Lucia di Lammermoor edited by Gabriele Dotto– who will be at the ICI– and Roger Parker, published by Ricordi as part of the National Edition created with the collaboration and contribution of the Municipality of Bergamo and the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti.

The documentation of the exhibition of the manuscript score of Lucia di Lammermoor in New York, as well as the textual contributions that are being prepared, together with some videos and in-depth studies, are also available on the platform, which has been the virtual museum of the ICI for a year: a way of making the whole documentary work available to scholars and audience who cannot be in New York.

With around 5,000 performances a year, Gaetano Donizetti is one of the most performed composers in the world! Who does not know his “Lucia di Lammermoor”, for example?
Listen to the round table that opened the exhibition “NY Loves Lucy” at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York.
Speakers: director Fabio Finotti, Gabriele Dotto who edited the new critical edition of the opera for Ricordi, Riccardo Frizza and Francesco Micheli, music director and artistic director of the Donizetti Opera in Bergamo and Aranzazu Escudero de Zuloaga, Chairman/President of the American Friends of the Donizetti Opera Festival.


The 2022 edition dedicate to the boundary between the young and adults

Three donizettian operas La favorite, L'aio nell'imbarazzo, Chiara and Serafina on its modern premiere

Everything is ready for the eighth edition of the Donizetti Opera, the international festival dedicated to the composer from Bergamo, organized by the Donizetti Theatre Foundation chaired by Giorgio Berta with the general direction of Massimo Boffelli, the artistic direction of Francesco Micheli and the musical direction of Riccardo Frizza. The festival will take place in Bergamo, “The City of Gaetano Donizetti”, from 17 November to 4 December 2022.

A new edition of the Donizetti Opera festival – awarded the “Oper! Award” as the best European festival for German critics – which explores the different facets of the “generational gap” through the productions. The programme includes La favorite (18 and 27 November, 3 December) and L’aio nell’imbarazzo (20 and 26 November, 2 December) will be staged at the Donizetti Theatre; Chiara e Serafina (19 and 25 November, 4 December) will be staged at the Teatro Sociale.



Music by Gaetano Donizetti

18 November - 8 PM
27 November - 3.30 PM
3 December - 8 PM

Teatro Donizetti


Music by Gaetano Donizetti

19 November - 8 PM
25 November 8 PM
4 December - 3.30 PM

Teatro Sociale

Music by Gaetano Donizetti

20 November - 3.30 PM
26November - 8 PM
2 December - 8 PM

Teatro Donizetti


“With regard to the theme of the generational gap,” explained musical director Riccardo Frizza, “music has always been at the forefront, having traditionally been based on the relationship between masters and pupils, as well as between performers with longer careers and new promises. In this sense, this edition of the festival – whose programme is inspired by the master-pupil relationship that linked Johann Simon Mayr and Gaetano Donizetti –features experts of the repertoire such as Alex Esposito, Alessandro Corbelli, Javier Camarena, Pietro Spagnoli, Annalisa Stroppa, Florian Sempey alongside a large group of new artists, coming from excellent training paths, who, among other things, symbolize the festival’s desire to be a showcase of new talents. Among the maestri who enrich the experience of this edition, we are very glad to welcome the new maestro of the Donizetti Opera Choir, Bruno Casoni, long-standing protagonist of Italian opera choirs.”