Composer - His Life and Works (1801-1852)
Apart from his artistic activity as a painter, poet and playwright, Cammarano is principally remembered as one of the most important romantic librettists from the generation following the era of Romani.
Cammarano was part of a large theatrical family from Napoli and his uncle Filippo had been a librettist in his time. After having taken on the job of conductor in the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, in 1834 he left the activity of comedy writer for good to dedicate his time to being a librettist, becoming a close collaborator of the greatest Italian musicians of his time.
The librettos written by this author from Napoli are made of many special characteristics. Not only does Cammarano have a complete command of the musical-playwright structures but there is also the intense pathos which pervades him and which often finds maximum expression in the emotional tension of his main actresses.
Cammarano wrote on the whole nearly 40 libretti for operas: more or less eight were for Gaetano Donizetti, the most important being Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), Roberto Devereux (1837) and Poliuto (1840), four for Giuseppe Verdi (Alzira, La battaglia di Legnano, Luisa Miller and Il Trovatore), six for Giovanni Paicini, one of which was Saffo (1840), five for Giuseppe Saverio Mercadante and another thirty, all in the romantic style, for other minor opera composers from the middle of the nineteenth century.
Cammarano's artistic collaboration with Verdi was most certainly the most important one. It began in 1845 with Alzira and was then followed in 1849 with La Battaglia di Legnano and Luisa Miller. Cammarano and Verdi were already making plans to work together on Re Lear when the draft of Il Trovatore was at the finishing stages. The librettist died suddenly, however, and the opera had to be completed by L.E. Bardare.