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Maria StuardaNew Production

This listing is in the past
OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
Dates/times in Zurich time zone
Zurich Opera
Enrique MazzolaConductor
David AldenDirector
Gideon DaveySet Designer, Costume Designer
Serena FarnocchiaSopranoElisabetta
Diana DamrauSopranoMaria Stuarda
Pavol BreslikTenorEarl of Leicester
Nicolas TestéBassTalbot
Hamida KristoffersenSopranoAnna
Andrzej FilończykBaritoneCecil
Philharmonia Zürich
Zurich Opera Chorus

In Gaetano Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda, there is a scene that holds a unique position in the bel canto repertoire of the 19th century: Queen Elizabeth I and her rival Mary Stuart stand opposite one another, hurling accusations and vitriolic insults. Historically, this scene never took place – the confrontation between the Scottish and the English monarchs is a stroke of genius from the pen of Friedrich Schiller. Gaetano Donizetti placed the fiery duel of the two queens at the heart of his opera – thus creating one of the most dramatically effective moments in his entire oeuvre. Donizetti’s librettist radically simplified Schiller’s tragedy. Mary Stuart has been held captive for years at Fotheringhay Castle, where Elizabeth I has had her imprisoned for fear of her claims to the English throne. When the two queens meet, their rivalry escalates, and Elizabeth makes up her mind to have Mary killed. When the Earl of Leicester asks for mercy for the Scottish queen, Elizabeth feels betrayed by the man she loves, and orders Mary’s execution. Maria Stuarda is a spine-chilling and highly emotional historical drama, entirely to the taste of the Italian Romantics. However, success was not forthcoming: King Ferdinand II banned performance of the politically dubious first version, and when the première finally took place at La Scala in Milan in 1835, the famous Maria Malibran took to the stage with a hoarse voice. Only in the mid-20th century did the opera become a permanent fixture in the repertoire and a bravura piece for the two queens.

We are sure that we have found a cast suitable for these prestigious roles: none other than the star soprano Diana Damrau will be singing the title role. The young Georgian singer Salome Jicia, who has caused a sensation at events such as the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, will be opposite her as Elizabeth I. Pavol Breslik will be singing the Earl of Leicester. David Alden, one of the most experienced practitioners of his craft, will be staging his first production at Zurich Opera House.

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