A searingly dramatic setting of Friedrich Schiller's play about Mary, Queen of Scots, and her political and personal rivalry with Queen Elizabeth I of England.
Maria Stuarda had a troubled genesis, despite its musical and theatrical brilliance, and only recently achieved a place in the repertory. These two fearsome rivals embody different perceptions of royalty, which were very much in direct conflict at that moment in time, and the opera’s drama is true to history in a way the facts are not.
Soprano Diana Damrau, following her triumph as Violetta in last season’s new production of Verdi’s La Traviata, stars as the martyred Mary, Queen of Scots, in Donizetti’s bel canto showcase. Star mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is her imperious rival Queen Elizabeth I, and the silken-voiced tenor Stephen Costello is the noble Earl of Leicester. Maurizio Benini conducts Sir David McVicar’s handsome production.
Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) composed more than 60 operas, plus orchestral and chamber music, in a career abbreviated by mental illness and premature death. Giuseppe Bardari (1817–1861) was only 17 when his reputation as a brilliant student led Donizetti to entrust him with the creation of the libretto for Maria Stuarda, adapted from a play by the great German author and philosopher Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), a hugely influential figure in literature and beyond.