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The following includes details on books on Donizetti, his work and his era. Books and scores for Mayr are held on the Mayr page and information on scores on the Scores page. Please contact with any suggestions for additional publications.

Fondazione Donizetti Bibliography and publications

The Fondazione Donizetti site,, includes an extensive bibliography of over 700 items.  They also publish books, articles and conference proceedings on Donizetti and his era, see .


Donizetti Society Publications

The Donizetti Society publishes a regular Newsletter and an occasional Journal. It has also published books, such as Donizetti's Operas in Naples 1822-1848, by John Black (1982) and reprinted 19th century vocal scores of works such as Roberto Devereux, Caterina Cornaro and Les Martyrs as well as printing a more recent vocal score prepared by Graeme Young of L'esule di Roma.

Standard reference books on Donizetti

William Ashbrook, Donizetti and his Operas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1982.  Ashbrook also wrote an earlier life entitled Donizetti in 1965.

Guglielmo Barblan, L'Opera di Donizetti.  Bergamo: Banca Mutua Popolare di Bergamo, 1948.  

Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 7.  London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 2001, pp.761-796.    The 1980 edition article, by William Ashbrook and Julian Budden, was also reprinted in The New Grove Masters of Italian Opera, London: Papermac, 1984, pp. 93-154.

Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Volume 1. London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1997, pp.1201-1221.  This material is also available to subscribers to Grove Music Online.

Egidio Saracino (ed), Tutti I libretti di Donizetti. Garzanti Editore, 1993.

Herbert Weinstock, Donizetti. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1964. (UK publication date).

Guido Zavadini  Donizetti: Vita - Musiche- Epistolario.  Bergamo, 1948


Other books on Donizetti

John Stewart Allitt,  GAETANO DONIZETTI – Pensiero, musica, opere scelte, Milano:Edizione Villadiseriane, 2003,  

John Stewart Allitt,  DONIZETTI – in the light of romanticism and the teaching of Johann Simon Mayr, Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Element Books, 1991. Also see John's website

Annalisa Bini & Jeremy Commons, Le prime rappresentazioni delle opere di Donizetti nella stampa coeva, Milan: Skira, 1997

John Black, Donizetti's Operas in Naples 1822-1848, London:The Donizetti Society, 1982

James P. Cassaro, Gaetano Donizetti - A Guide to Research, New York: Garland Publishing, 2000

Jacques Gheusi, Donizetti. Barcelona: Espasa Calpe/Planeta, 1979.  (in Spanish)

Philip Gossett, Anna Bolena and the Artistic Maturity of Gaetano Donizetti,   Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Fulvio Stefano Lo Presti, A Donizetti basta una zeta. Bergamo: Kolbe Edizioni, 2018. A review can be found here and in Donizetti Society Newsletter 135.

Leopold M Kantner, ed., Donizetti in Wien, papers from a symposium in various languages (ISBN 3-7069-0006-8 / ISSN 156,00-8921). Published by Primo Ottocento, available from Edition Praesens.

Robert Steiner-Isenmann,  Gaetano Donizetti: Sein Leben und seine Opern. Bern: Hallweg, 1982

Philippe Thanh, Donizetti, Paris: Actes Sud/Classica, 2005, ISBN: 2-7427-5481-4.

This is the first complete modern study in French on Donizetti. See Alex Weatherson in his review of the book in Newsletter 95 commented that " the text is balanced and the judgement mature: [Thanh] is at his best when he touches upon France and Donizetti's Parisian career as you would expect, when the insights gather and the ambience is very skillfully evoked".

Gilles de Van, Gaetano Donizetti, Paris: Bleu nuit éditeur, 2009.  A review by Stella Rollet can be found here.


Books describing aspects of Italian and French opera of this era

Dr. Emre Araci, Giuseppe Donizetti – the Italian maestro of the Ottoman court, ( Donizetti Paşa, Osmanlı Sarayının İtalyan Maestrosu), Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, November, 2006, 260 pages, ISBN: 975-08-1153-4.

Dr. Emre Araci’s biography of Giuseppe Donizetti (1788-1856), the elder brother of Gaetano, who served under Sultan Mahmud II as Instructor-General of the Imperial Ottoman Military Bands, has been published in Turkish by Yapi Kredi Yayinlari in Istanbul. As the first comprehensive biography of Giuseppe, the book includes many references to original and recently-surfaced documents located in the archives in Bergamo, Naples, Paris and Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul. Rossini's letter to Giuseppe Donizetti enquiring after the reception of his military marches by the Sultan and Liszt’s letter to his solicitor friend Adolphe Crémieux for advice in securing the release of Gaetano Donizetti from the French police before his ill-fated return to Bergamo are some of the documents surfacing in Dr Araci’s book for the first time. The product of three years research, Giuseppe Donizetti – the Italian maestro of the Ottoman court, brings back the glories of an era when Italian opera was popular in the palaces by the Bosphorus and the sultans proceeded to the mosque to the strains of Donizetti and Rossini marches.

(Dr Araci would be interested to hear from anyone who can advise him in getting an English translation published - emrearaci(at)

John Black, The Italian Romantic Libretto, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1984

David Charlton, editor, The Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
A series of essays exploring many different aspects of  grand opera many of whose personalities and works overlap the end of the bel canto era.

Clarissa Lablache Cheer, The Great Lablache, (Xlibris Corporation, 1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington IN 47403, USA). The imposing bass Luigi Lablache (1795-1858) dominated the operatic stage for almost half a century singing in operas by many of the major operatic composers of his day and with many of the great stars of that era

Sieghart Döhring and Arnold Jacobshagen, Meyerbeer und das europäische Musiktheater, published by Laaber-Verlag

Philip Eisenbeiss, Bel Canto Bully. London: Haus Publishing, 2013.  Discusses the life and times of the impresario Domenico Barbaja

Mark Everist, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Music Drama in Nineteenth-Century Paris, Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2005.

Kurt Gänzl, Victorian Vocalists,  Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017.  A collection of lively biographies of 100 Victorian singers from different countries and backgrounds but all of whom have some connection through singing opera in London. Written in Kurt's inimitable, chatty style it is very readable and a mine of information although without references or index if you wanted to follow up on any point.  The singers covered are listed here.

Philip Gossett, Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008

Michael Jahn, Die Wiener Hopofer von 1826 bis 1848, ISBN: 978 3 85450 148 0, Verlag Der Apfel, Austria, includes Donizetti's career in Vienna.

Michael Jahn, Di tanti palpiti...Italiener in Wien, ISBN: 978-3-85450-196-1, Verlag Der Apfel, Austria, .  A more wide ranging book on Italians at the Vienna Hofoper.

David Kimbell, Italian Opera, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.  A broad sweep of  Italian opera but with a substantial section on Romantic opera of this era.

Dr. Thomas Lindner, Donizettiana et alia musicologica Scripta minora. Praesens, Vienna, 2011.
A collection of essays on Italian opera of the first half of the 19th century.

Dan H. Marek, Giovanni Battista Rubini and the Bel Canto Tenors: History and Technique. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2013.

Giovanni Pacini, Memoirs. An English edition was published in July 2018. See

Carlo Paradiso (editor), Teodulo Mabellini: Maestro dell'Ottocento musicale fiorentino . Società Editrice di Musicologia (SEDM), 2018. See here

Xuan Qin, Ornament and Gesture – Approaches to Studying Bellini's Norma and Giuditta Pasta 's Performance. (Miami: University of Miami, Ph.D. thesis, 2015). Available here.

Geoffrey S. Riggs, The assoluta voice in opera, 1797-1847, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland  & Co, 2009.
The book traces bel canto soprano singing from Cherubini to early Verdi and considers both singers of the time and of today. Extracts can be seen here.

John Rosselli, Music and Musicians in Nineteenth Century Italy, London: B.T.Batsford, 1991.

John Rosselli, Singers in Italian Opera, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Federico Spinetti, ed., Giuseppe Donizetti Pascià, a collection of essays on Donizetti's brother Giuseppe, who was musical director for the Turkish Sultan. Fondazione Donizetti, Bergamo, 2010. See also Dr. Araci's book above.

Kenneth Stern, Giuditta Pasta, self published. See here.  
Reviews can be found here and in Newsletter 133 (February 2018).

Basil Walsh, Michael W. Balfe, with a forward by Richard Bonynge, Irish Academic Press, 2008.  Some of  Basil's other work in this area can be seen  at and .  For people interested in this music, there is also the recording of his The Maid of Artois and Satanella by Victorian Opera NorthWest, see .

William Weaver, The Golden Century of Italian Opera, London: Thames and Hudson, 1980.

Sebastian Werr, Errico Petrella (ISBN 3-7069-0040-8 / ISSN 156,00-8921). Available from Edition Praesens.

Alberto Zedda, A Life with Rossini. Translated by Charles Jernigan  Milan: Casa Ricordi, 2017. ISBN:978-88-8192-035-8 A Review by Will Crutchfield can be found here.

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