Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari – Overture to the opera Der Liebhaber als Arzt (L’amore medico)
(b. Venice 12. January 1876 – d. Venice 21 .January 1948)
First performed on the 4. December 1913 in Dresden.
After the success of his comic operas Die neugierigen Frauen (La donne curiose) in 1903, Die vier Grobiane (I quarto rusteghi) in 1906, and Susannens Gehimnis (Il segreto di Susanna) in 1909, Wolf-Ferrari’s next theatrical composition was a verismo opera – Der Schmuck der Madonna (I gioielli della Madonna). This change in emotional direction was again successful in Germany, but also in the United States, with Wolf-Ferrari present for a performance in Chicago a few weeks after the premiere in Berlin in December 1911. Performances of these operas were not though immediate in Italy, which Alan Mallach (2007:291) indicates, was due to the lack of cooperation between the publishing houses of Weinberger (which Wolf-Ferrari’s operas were published through), Ricordi, and Sonzogno1, though all these works had been performed in either Rome, Milan, or Genoa by 1914.
After his sojournment within a veristic world, Wolf-Ferrari once again turned towards comic opera, though this time not based on the plays of the Venetian Carlo Goldoni, but on one from the French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673) who is better known through his stage name Molière. The opera is based upon Molière’s play L’Amour medecin, which was first performed in the Palace of Versailles for Louis XIV on the 22 of September 1665. The libretto for the opera was by the Neapolitan writer Enrico Golisciani (1848-1919) and this was his third libretto for Wolf-Ferrari2 though he had already written librettos for Umberto Giordano, Amilcare Ponchielli, and Francesco Cilea. In Golisciani’s adaptation the main change is that the character Sganarelle is renamed Arnolfo, whilst the other characters names remain fairly consistent. …
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