Capriccio sull’ Opera Foscari is Giuseppe Cappelli’s fantasy on themes from Giuseppe Verdi’s (1813-1901) opera I due Foscari, a three-act lyric opera set to a libretto by Franceso Maria Piave and adapted from Lord Bryon’s five-act play The Two Foscari. The first performance took place on November 3, 1844, a the Teatro Argentina in Rome.
Il due Foscari takes place in 15-th century Venice. The two Foscari are the city’s Doge, Francesco, and his son, Jacopo, who has just returned from exile for a murder he did not commit. He has been brought back to Venice to stand trial for treason, a crime for which he is also innocent. Since Venice has come under the power of the corrupt I Dieci (The Council of Ten), neither the pleas of the powerful Doge nor his wife, Lucrezia, can save him. Jacopo is found guilty and dies on the ship as it leaves to take him to exile. His father is forced to step down as Doge and, realizing that his life is almost over, falls to the ground and dies.
Opening music from Giuseppe Capelli’s Capriccio comes from the agitated string tutti of Act I, Scene 2, interspersed with cadenzas in the Eb clarinet. At measure 9, the Eb clarinet solo is a direct statement of Lucrezia’s plea to God for comfort, Ah, si confronto ai miseri! Lucrezia’s aria at bar 18, Tu pur lo sai, occurs in the Finale to Act I. Here she pleads with the Doge to do something to stop her beloved Jacopo from being condemned. His impassioned reply at bar 35, Oltre ogni umano cedere, begs her to console him in his misery for there is nothing he can do. Their duet from bar 50 concludes the andante section with Lucrezia’s role played by the E-flat clarinet and the piano contributing the voice of the Doge. Closing music to Cappelli’s Capriccio is a large choral number taken from Act III, Scene 1 where the piano is the voice of Jacopo as he bids farewell to his wife and father. The work concludes with original music by Cappelli.
Score and Parts Included: Eb Clarinet