La Jura is an opera composed by Gavino Gabriel, of which he also wrote the libretto.

Gabriel began to work on the project of La Jura in the early 20th century and kept on working on it for the rest of his life, making different versions of the libretto, of the piano-vocal score and of the overall score. The creative process of the opera is documented by an extraordinary amount of original documents and work material kept at the Accademia popolare gallurese Gavino Gabriel in Tempio Pausania. Thanks to these documents, it is possible to reconstruct the main stages of the history of this opera:
1905 (approx): the first draft of the subject, entitled La Jura. A dramatic event in the life of Cicciottu Jaconi divided into five scenes set in Gallura (first half of the 19th century) with Sardinian traditional music in the background adapted to Gavino Gabriel's style. 

1907: first version of the libretto, entitled La Yura (The ordeal oath). Five paintings of Sardinian life in Gallura, texts and music by Gavino Gabriel.

1914: the piano-vocal score was performed for the very first time in a private concert in Turin.

1927: publishing of the libretto: La Jura. Five paintings of Sardinian life in Gallura for the background music, Italica Ars, Milan, 1927.

1928, 21-28 April: first staging at the Politeama Regina Margherita in Cagliari (first version of the score).

1958, 13-16 April: new staging at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples (second version of the score).

1959, 21 -22 May: performance at the Teatro Massimo in Cagliari with the same staging of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. 

1959, 18 September: Gabriel made a new version of the score (third version).



La Jura is a love and passionate story, full of betrayals and oaths. The title of the opera refers to an ancient type of ordeal oath, i.e. the "jura", which provides for the death without revenge for those who break it. The plot includes the shepherd and poet Cicciottu Jacòni and the rich shepherd Burédda who compete for the heart of the lovely Anna and the beautiful Matalena; but a third woman, Pasca Ucchjtta, seduced by Burédda and who lost her mind because of the death of her daughter Salvatora, is lurking in the background. After many twists and turns, the story ends with a happy ending which celebrates the triumph of real love. 
The drama is set in five scenes which evoke the main cultural and natural environments of social life in Gallura in the 19th century: the "sagra" (festival) and the local folk festivals related to the religious celebrations; the "conche", wide caves made of huge granite rocks, located in the cork oak and holm woods of which the Gallura countryside is full of; the "fountain", a privileged meeting point for the travelers who walk along rural paths; the "pricunta", an ancient ritual to negotiate weddings; and finally the "zidda", i.e. the typical fireplace found in shepherds' houses, the epitome of the domestic environment. 

Beyond the plot, what Gabriel really wants to stage is a huge choral fresco, a universe of values, a cross-section of community life. Not only do characters act in the wake of personal drives, but they also follow ancient codes of conduct linked to the most ancient popular traditions of Gallura. Also the different settings have a ritual value: the stazzi (the rural houses of the shepherds), the woods, the conche (huge granite rocks) and the fountains are all places full of ancient meanings which are not only the setting for the action but are part of it, as they even affect the choices and behavior of the characters.

La Jura is an opera that involves cultural and topical questions: the identity issue as a result of a negotiation process among different traditions and life styles; the possibility to conceive a meeting point between the oral dimension - peculiar to popular traditions - and the written dimension of the opera tradition; and finally the need to start a deep reflection on the value of local identities in an increasingly globalized world.


La Jura is a research work, animated by a strong experimental drive; the originality of its music is mainly given by the use of Sardinian popular songs and melodies, which are remade and skilfully inserted in an intense and expressive score, in line with the best Italian Verismo opera tradition. The singers, the orchestra and the choir are accompanied by an a tàsgia choire, an ancient technique of improvised singing performed by five voices very popular in Gallura. The influence of popular music can be noticed all over the orchestral score, where the wooden musical instruments remind of the rough sound of the launeddas, while the tune is rich in dissonances as it is full of typical features of the oral tradition. It is an audacious contamination experiment which is much more than a simple patchwork of different elements: popular music is perfectly combined with classical music, providing listeners with a refined, original and surprising sound.