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Archive: Maria Di Rohan

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The Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, was one of the greatest stars of ‘bel canto’ opera at the beginning of the 19th century. Donizetti wrote more than 70 operas which typically followed the ‘bel canto’ tradition of dramatically captivating music and above all, placed very high demands on the singers.

The Italian libretto for the melodramatic opera Maria di Rohan, written by Salvadore Cammarano, is based on the playUn duel sous le cardinal de Richelieu by Lockroy and Badon. The opera had its premiere in Vienna in 1843 where it was considered experimental. The intriguing story takes place in the court of Louis XIII with a classic, yet complicated, love triangle. Maria is secretly and unhappily married to Enrico, the Duke of Chevreuse, who is condemned to death for killing Cardinal Richelieu’s nephew in a duel. Maria asks Riccardo, the Count of Chalais and her former lover, with whom Maria has a revived love affair, to save Enrico, which he does. The plot unfolds with misplaced loyalty, duels, political intrigue, a secret tunnel and an illicit love letter. In the final scene Riccardo commits suicide, and Enrico condemns Maria to a life of infamy.

This production is directed by the young Austrian Barbara Klimo who has already had many successful productions, namely in Innsbruck and Dusseldorf.