Il pirata, one of Bellini's less frequently staged works, poses a veritable challenge to sopranos and tenors on account of its tremendously difficult arias. Few artists have the courage to tackle the score, which is reserved to the very finest voices.
This Romantic opera is as impregnated with passion as Bellini's personal life. It tells of lovers facing the direst of predicaments and threatened by the implacable rigour of fate. The soprano is given one of the celebrated "mad scenes" found in all the great operas of the period. Il pirata, commissioned by La Scala, earned Bellini the first great triumph of his career. It also consolidated his partnership with the librettist Felice Romani and enabled him to make firm progress towards a personal musical style in which enchanting melodies would be the prime ingredient. Il pirata has been staged only once before at the Liceu, in the 1970-71 season, with Montserrat Caballé, Bernabé Martí and Vicenç Sardinero in the leading roles.
Opera in two acts. Libretto by Felice Romani based on the tragedy Bertram or The Castle of St Aldobrand by the Rev. R. C. Maturin.
Music by Vincenzo Bellini. First performed on 27 October 1827 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Barcelona premiere at the Teatre de la Santa Creu on 21 September 1830. First staged at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on 1 January 1971.