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you are in > Opera > Roberto Devereux

Roberto Devereux

Gaetano Donizetti


Saturday      November 21, 2015 8:00 PM
Tuesday November 24, 2015 8:00 PM
Friday November 27, 2015     8:00 PM
Monday November 30, 2015 8:00 PM

Sponsored by

Basque Government


  Roberto Devereux Gregory Kunde  
  Elisabetta Anna Pirozzi*  
  Sara Silvia Tro Santafè*  
  Lord Duca di Notthingham Alessandro Luongo*  
  Lord Cecil Eduardo Ituarte  
  Gualtiero Raleigh Javier Galán  
  Un Paggio Gexan Etxabe  
  Un Familiare di Notthingham Gexan Etxabe  
    Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi  
    Coro de Ópera de Bilbao  
  Music Director Josep Caballé-Domenech  
  Scene Director Mario Pontiggia*  
  Director of the Chorus
Boris Dujin  
  Production Ópera Las Palmas  
  *Debuting at ABAO-OLBE    


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Scena (ES)
El Roberto Devereux de los historiadores
Artistic Record
Videography and phonography
Un drama con precisión de relojería


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ROBERTO DEVEREUX, ossia Il conte di Essex

A Tragedia lirica in three acts, with a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano based on Le comte d'Essex, tragédie (1678) by Thomas Corneille, Historie secrète des amours d'Élisabeth et du comte d'Essex, tirée de l'Anglois des Mémoires d'un homme de qualité (1787) by Jacques Lescène Desmaisons, Élisabeth d'Angleterre, pièce (1829) by Jacques-François Ancelot, and Felice Romani's libretto for Il conte d'Essex by Saverio Mercadante (1833), and with music by Gaetano Donizetti

Roberto Devereux, Earl of Essex (tenor)
Elisabetta, Queen of England (soprano)
The Duke of Nottingham (baritone)
Sara, Duchess of Nottingham (mezzosoprano)
Lord Cecil (tenor)
Sir Gualtiero Raleigh (bass)
A page (contralto)
A member of Nottingham's family (bass)

London, 1601.

Act I

A room in Westminster Palace.
The ladies of honour try to console Sara for a sorrow that she would rather conceal.
Elisabetta states that she's willing to receive Roberto, at the Duke of Nottingham's entreaty. She has doubts about the Earl's loyalty, both political and amorous. The Queen can express the love in her heart joyfully, while the Duchess must remain quiveringly silent about her own love.
For their part, the Peers of the Realm have found Roberto guilty of treason, and Cecil asks the Queen not to skimp on the punishment. Elisabetta demands further evidence.
A page announces that Roberto wants an audience with the Queen. Cecil and Gualtiero react badly. Nevertheless, Elisabetta decides to receive him, hoping that he'll successfully defend himself from his political adversaries' accusations.
When Roberto presents himself, the Queen sends Cecil and Gualtiero away. Roberto affirms his innocence, because he considers that the clemency he showed to the defeated rebels cannot be regarded as treason. The Queen promises him that the ring she gave him will always be his safeguard, and recalls happier times. Roberto can't express his feelings properly; Elisabetta thinks she detects a change in her lover. Elisabetta expresses herself equivocally; Roberto thinks she already knows the secret of his new love. The Queen demands to know her name, so as to take her revenge, but Roberto doesn't answer.
The Duke of Nottingham expresses concern for Essex, and hardly dares ask him about his situation. When Essex suggests to Nottingham that he forgets his (Roberto's) sad fate and takes refuge in his own wife's arms, the Duke informs him that a mortal listlessness is consuming her. The Duke has doubts about his wife's faithfulness when he hears her sobbing alone, but he tells himself there's nothing to worry about.
Cecil enters summoning Nottingham to a meeting with the Queen and Peers to decide Roberto's sentence. Nottingham states that he'll attend in order to save Essex.
The plaintive cry that Sara carries in her heart can only be expressed when she's alone.
When they meet, Roberto reproaches Sara for raising his hopes by allowing him to visit her. She explains that after Roberto went away and her father died, the Queen forced her to marry Nottingham. Sara advises Roberto to either get back with the Queen, or flee. Roberto eventually promises to flee at nightfall. Sara insists that he do so that very instant, and as she bids him farewell she gives him a handkerchief.



Act II

The room in Westminster Palace.
Cecil informs the Queen that the Peers have decided to sentence Essex to death, instructing his staunchest defender to submit the verdict to her.
Gualtiero's men have confiscated a handkerchief that the Earl was carrying close to his heart. The Queen suggests amorous intrigues, and wants to see Roberto.
Nottingham presents the sentence for the Queen to sign, and tries to persuade her to revoke it. But Elisabetta's convinced herself of Roberto's treachery – if not political, then amorous – and she signs the sentence.
No sooner has he arrived than Elisabetta accuses Roberto of betrayal, showing him the handkerchief. Nottingham recognizes it as his wife's, and he too demands that Essex die. But Elisabetta wants to know her rival's name, and offers Roberto to spare his life if he tells her. Roberto refuses again.
Before the whole court, Elisabetta announces the execution at noon. Elisabetta still wants to take revenge on her unknown rival; Nottingham starts to think of avenging his honour with his wife's death. Roberto's led back to jail.




A room in Westminster Palace.
Sara, unaware of what's happened at the Palace, awaits her husband's arrival.
A soldier comes with a letter from Roberto and the ring that Elisabetta gave him as a safeguard.
When the Duke arrives he demands to read Roberto's letter. Sara understands that her husband knows about her meeting with Roberto the night before. Nottingham feels betrayed by both his friend and his own wife. A funeral march is heard, and they see Roberto pass in the street. Sara wants to obtain from Elisabetta a last-minute pardon for Roberto, but her husband prevents her from leaving the Palace.

In the prison of the Tower of London.
Roberto still hopes to be able to apologize both to Elisabetta and to Nottingham, and trusts in the significance of the ring.
Following a long prayer by Roberto, the guards lead him forth.

In the Queen's boudoir.
Elisabetta no entiende la ausencia de Sara, y se extraña que Gualtiero no le haya encontrado en casa. La reina nota que le ha entrado una gran amargura en lugar de la ira que tenía. También ella se fía del significado del anillo, y espera que Roberto se lo entregará para salvarse de la muerte.
Cecil entra para informar de que Roberto se encuentra ya en camino hacia el patíbulo.
Sara ha podido escapar de sus guardias, y entrega el anillo a Elisabetta, confesando que es ella su temida rival. La confesión le basta a la reina, y manda interrumpir la ejecución.
Pero ya es demasiado tarde: un cañonazo anuncia la muerte de Roberto. Elisabetta recrimina a Sara haber tardado en entregarle el anillo, pero Nottingham se hace responsable. Ahora la ira de la reina se dirije hacia los dos, y les condena a crueles suplicios. Ni las exigencias de su estatus real, que le son recordadas por la corte, aplacan su ira. Termina expresando una visión apocalíptica de su reinado, y anuncia su abdicación.