La Donna del lago



Production :

Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège – Rossini Opera Festival of Pesaro

The story

To a background of rivalries in Scotland between the King and the rebels in the 16th century, Elena, the daughter of a dissident chief, is promised in wedlock to one of the rebels. She does not love him and pours out her sadness every day on the shores of Lake Katrina. She arouses the passion of a hunter, Uberto, who is in fact the King in disguise. Having triumphed, the monarch forgives his enemies and marries the beautiful Elena.

The first romantic opera

The theme of La Donna del lago was ideal for the development of a first romantic work: its ingredients are the mysteriousness of Scotland, wild countryside, patriotic rivalries, the omnipresence of hate and death and then the emergence, in a hostile environment, of love. This was the first musical adaptation of a work by Walter Scott and it gave rise to a wealth of works inspired by both the English author during the 19th century and the romantic bel canto.

Far from the young Rossini’s farces and archaic dramas, La Donna del lago, first performed in 1819, was not well received before going on to encounter triumph, only to sink into oblivion for more than a century. Nevertheless, the work is appealing and contains some of the most ardent and valorous melodies in opera as well as exceptionally richly crafted writing. The role of Elena, written for the great Isabella Colbran, is enhanced by first-rate masculine voices. This production is the fruit of a collaboration with the Rossini Opera Festival, where it was triumphantly received in the summer of 2016.