Opera Scotland

Betly ossia La campanna svizzera; or The Swiss Campaign

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Gaetano Donizetti (born Bergamo, 29 November 1797; died Bergamo, 8 April 1848)


The composer.


Libretto Le chalet (1834) by Eugène Scribe and Anne-Honoré-Joseph Mélesville, set by Adam.



First Performance: Naples (Teatro Nuovo), 24 August 1836.

First Performance (Revision): Palermo (Teatro Carolino), 29 October 1837.

First Performance in UK; London (Lyceum), 9 January 1838.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Theatre Royal), 8 May 1838.



Scribe, in preparing his libretto for Adolphe Adam's successful comedy Le chalet, borrowed a plot from a minor work by Goethe. It was, in turn, borrowed by Donizetti for his own purposes. In Britain, Donizetti's version never caught on, but Adam's remained popular as a curtain-raiser or after-piece in British theatres for most of the 19th century.



Daniele, a Swiss peasant (tenor)

Betly, proprietor of a chalet (soprano)

Corporal Max, her brother (bass)


Plot Summary

Max has been away in the army for years. When he returns home, complete with his platoon of soldiers, he finds that his sister has developed a love of her independent lifestyle. As a result she has refused the proposal of Daniele, a sweet-natured, gentle soul. To show Betly the uses to which a husband can be put, Max, still not recognised by his sister, billets his soldiers at her chalet, and chaos inevitably results, Daniele, showing a previously hidden talent for assertiveness, comes to her rescue, order is restored, and she accepts him at last.

The Cast

 sister to Max
 a Swiss peasant
 a Soldier

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