Vincenzo Bellini achieved his artistic breakthrough with Il pirata . After initial successes in Naples, the composer, who was only 25 years old, was commissioned to write this opera for La Scala in Milan, where the premiere in 1827 was a great success. With the literary template by Charles Robert Maturin, which belongs to the genre of the horror novel, Bellini met the taste of the time: eerie scenes in dark night, cruel male rivalries and the tragic fate of ethereal female characters came with Bellini's work also on the opera stage Fashion. In this regard, Imogene, the soprano role, is a predecessor of Donizetti's famous Lucia di Lammermoor.
The action takes place in Bellini's homeland, Sicily: Gualtiero, who had to flee for political reasons and has lived as a pirate ever since, is shipwrecked and recognizes his former lover in his savior, Imogene. But Imogene married his mortal enemy Ernesto during Gualtiero's absence. In the battle between the two rivals, Gualtiero kills Ernesto. When he is sentenced to death, Imogene goes mad. Not only did Bellini create the prototype of the romantic opera with this work, so to speak, with the choice of the material, he also introduced a new, lyrical tone musically with his wide-ranging melodic arcs.
In our concert performance of this Bellini opera, the Zurich audience favorite Javier Camarena can be seen as the pirate Gualtiero. The Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova, internationally celebrated as Queen of the Night, Konstanze and Lucia di Lammermoor, sings the role of Imogene, while ensemble member Konstantin Shushakov is Ernesto.