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|Lord Arturo||Xabier Anduaga|
|Sir Giorgio Valton||Manuel Fuentes*|
|Bruno Robertson||Josu Cabrero|
|Coro de Ópera de Bilbao||Director Boris Dujin|
|Production||Teatro Real, Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile|
|*Debuting at ABAO Bilbao Opera|
The plot is set in Plymouth, at the time of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell, commander of the Puritan army, achieved a decisive victory over the Royalist troops in 1644 and overthrew King Charles I. But the Stuart supporters, the Cavaliers, rose up in 1648; the King was then captured and executed the following year.
Guard soldiers parade under the command of their Commander, Bruno, who invites them to kneel for the morning hymn that can be heard from inside the fortress.
Inside the castle, ladies and gentlemen enter to celebrate the imminent marriage of Elvira, daughter of Gualtiero, the Governor. When the crowd disperses, Riccardo stays behind for a moment to meditate on his misfortune: Elvira does not love him and he is going to lose her. Surprised by Bruno, he explains that Gualtiero had promised his daughter’s hand to him but he had broken off the engagement to marry her to Arturo, a Royalist with whom the young lady is in love. In despair, Riccardo states that only death would put an end to the misfortune of having lost the woman he loves. Bruno advises him to forget Elvira by seeking glory in the battlefield with the soldiers who call upon him as their captain. Riccardo responds that he is full of feelings of love and revenge that make him ignore any feeling of honour towards his country.
In her chambers, Elvira speaks with her uncle Giorgio, who reminds her that her father wished her to marry Riccardo. The young woman defends her passion and says that she would rather die than marry against her will. Luckily, Giorgio tells her the happy news that he has managed to convince her father to accept the new engagement with Arturo, whose arrival at the castle is being announced precisely at that moment.
In the hall of arms, all the inhabitants of the castle gather to receive the husband-to-be. Giorgio, the Governor, explains to Arturo that he will not be able to attend the ceremony because he must escort a mysterious lady to London, where she will be tried as she is suspected of spying for the Stuarts. When the lady appears and is left alone with Arturo for a moment, he declares his Royalist sympathies and she reveals that she is Enrichetta, widow of King Charles I. Arturo promises to save her. To this end, he will use Elvira’s wedding veil, which will enable them to cross the castle’s gates together, as the guards will take them for the happy couple. But when they are about to leave, Riccardo enters suddenly, sword in hand, to challenge Arturo to a duel. Enrichetta, to prevent it, reveals her identity and Riccardo, understanding the situation, decides not to hinder their departure so as to discredit Arturo.
When the alarm is raised, it is already too late to catch the fugitives. Upon finding out, Elvira thinks that Arturo has betrayed and abandoned her for someone else and is beset by madness.
In a hall in the castle, they are all saddened by Elvira’s mental breakdown, which has been explained by Giorgio. Riccardo announces that Arturo has been sentenced to death. Elvira appears, totally deranged, and mistakes Georgio for Arturo and asks him to marry her.
Giorgio tries to convince Riccardo to stop chasing his rival, for Elvira’s sake. He finally changes his mind and promises to join Riccardo in battle, both extolling the virtues of patriotism and military prowess.
Arturo has escaped from his enemies and returned to the castle to reassure Elvira. He manages to meet with her when he finds her singing a sad ballad in the park. He explains to her the reason why he fled with Enrichetta. Elvira happily forgives him, but she returns to her state of madness when she hears the soldiers’ drums. They enter, with Riccardo and Giorgio at the head, and arrest Arturo, whose death sentence must be executed. Arturo bids Elvira farewell, ready for the penalty, but at that moment a messenger arrives with news of the Royalists’ defeat and the pardon for all Stuart supporters. Elvira comes to her senses for good and they join together amidst the general joy.