Maria Stuarda

Gaetano Donizetti

  • Act I

    1 h 15 min.

  • Intermission

    20 min.

  • Act II

    1 h 5 min.

Duration: ca. 2 h 40 min.

Opera seria in two acts
Libretto: Giuseppe Bardari
Premiere of this production: 5 July 2014, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London
Co-produced by: Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London; Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris
In the original Italian 

Maria Stuarda is the next, after Anna Bolena, but not the last piece proving Donizetti’s fascination with Tudor England. The opera’s history was shaped by a mix of unfavourable circumstances that made it disappear for many decades – virtually until the mid-20th century!

At the time of its world premiere in 1835, problems were caused by inquisitive censors and the leading lady, Maria Malibran, 19th-century Europe’s greatest singer, who ignored their demands, and, suffering from old age, was a shadow of her former self at the premiere…

In this historical opera, Donizetti uses language totally foreign to 16th-century England and Scotland, practically without any stylization, entrenching himself in the anachronistic poetics of Italian bel canto. The composer, who wrote around 70 stage works in the 51 years of his life (as well as over 500 other pieces), despite producing music on an almost mass scale, sometimes permitted himself an experiment. It was the same this time, when he wrote the conversation between the two queens – Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots, a dialogue that never actually took place – in the form of a recitativo accompagnato in which the emotions swell up gradually. The work’s ending is also magnificent: Mary awaiting her execution bids the world farewell in a powerful and extensive final aria.



Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera


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