|Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra|
|dramma per musica by Gioachino Rossini|
Portrait of the composer
|Based on||Il paggio di Leicester|
by Carlo Federici
4 October 1815
Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra (Italian pronunciation: [eliza'b?tta re'd?i:na diil't?rra]; Elizabeth, Queen of England) is a dramma per musica or opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Giovanni Schmidt, from the play Il paggio di Leicester (Leicester's Page) by Carlo Federici, which itself "was derived from a novel The Recess (1785) by Sophia Lee."
It was premiered at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples on 4 October 1815 and was the first of nine operas which Rossini wrote for the San Carlo. Altogether, this was one of eighteen operas which he wrote during the time he spent in Naples.
Rossini took melodies from other operas to compose Elisabetta, including the overture, first written for Aureliano in Palmira, which is famous as the overture to The Barber of Seville. As Holden notes, with the re-uses of earlier music, "it is as if Rossini wished to present himself to the Neapolitan public by offering a selection of the best music from operas unlikely to have been revived in Naples."
Some of Elisabetta 's music was recycled in later operas and a part of Elisabetta's first aria was re-used by Rossini four months later in Rosina's aria "Una voce poco fa" in the opera The Barber of Seville.
Notable performances include Palermo (1970), Arles (1975), Teatro Regio di Torino , the Teatro San Carlo, Naples (1991), in New York (1998, given by Opera Northwest), at the Teatro Margarita Xirgu, Buenos Aires (2004), and at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro (2004).
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 4 October 1815|
(Conductor: Nicola Festa)
|Elisabetta (Elizabeth I of England)||soprano||Isabella Colbran|
|The Earl of Leicester, Commander of the army||tenor||Andrea Nozzari|
|Matilda, secretly married to Leicester||soprano||Girolama Dardanelli|
|Enrico, Matilda's brother||contralto||Maria Manzi|
|The Duke of Norfolk||tenor||Manuel Garcia|
|Guglielmo, Captain of the Royal Guard||tenor||Gaetano Chizzola|
|Knights, ladies, noble Scotsmen hostages to Elisabetta, official followers of Leicester, pages,|
royal guards, soldiers, people (chorus)
Throne Room of Whitehall Palace,
The Earl of Leicester is celebrating his victory over the Scots. The Duke of Norfolk, who is also present, scowls with jealousy. The Queen enters: (Aria: Quant'è grato all'alma mia). Leicester is honored, and says he has brought home the sons of nobility as hostages. However, he recognizes his wife, Matilda, and her brother, Enrico, as belonging to that group.
When they are alone, Leicester reproaches his wife (Duet: Incauta, che festi?). Because she is the daughter of Mary, Queen of the Scots, she is in danger. Matilda tells Leicester that the Queen loves him as well. She mourns her ill fortune: (Aria: Sento un'interna voce). Leicester decides that, to avoid suspicion, he will speak to neither Matilda nor to her brother, Enrico.
Instead, Leicester tells Norfolk of his secret marriage and Norfolk, in turn, tells the Queen: (Duet: Perché mai, destin crudele). She reacts to the news in fury.
The hostages and Leicester are sent for. The Queen offers to make him consort, and, upon his refusal, she accuses him of treason, and has both him and Matilda arrested.
Rooms in the Palace
The Queen states that she has sentenced Matilda to death. She demands that Matilda renounce her marriage to Leicester in return for his, her brother, Enrico's, and her own safety. Leicester enters, tears the document up, and is once again arrested along with Matilda. Also, the Queen banishes Norfolk banished for behaving badly towards Leicester.
Outside the Tower of London
People lament Leicester's upcoming execution. Norfolk appears. He induces the crowd to try to free Leicester.
Leicester's prison cell
He laments his fate. Norfolk enters and convinces Leicester that he has begged the Queen to pardon him, instead of having betrayed him. The Queen enters to see Leicester prior to his death. Norfolk has hidden, and Matilda and Enrico are hiding as well. Leicester tells the Queen that Norfolk has accused him. Norfolk emerges with a dagger drawn to stab the Queen, when Matilda emerges and throws herself between them. The Queen condemns Norfolk to death, and, in the aria, Bell'alme generose, pardons Leicester and the Scottish prisoners.
Opera House and Orchestra
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Massimo, Palermo,
(Recording of a performance in Palermo)
|Audio CD: Celestial Audio|
Cat: CA 235
Ambrosian Opera Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra
|Audio CD: Philips|
Cat: 432 453-2
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Regio di Torino,
(Recording of a performance in Turin)
|DVD: Hardy Classic Video|
|Herbert Handt, Stuttgarter Philarmoniker, Tschechischer Kammerchor,
(Recording of a performance at Kursaal Bad Wildbad during the Rossini in Wildbad Festival, July)
|Audio CD: Bongiovanni|
Cat: GB 2291/92-2
The Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra
|Audio CD: Opera Rara|
Cat: ORC 22