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La forza del destino

Giuseppe Verdi 1813–1901

Opera in 4 acts
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave based on Ángel de Saavedra
First performed 1862, Bolschoi, St. Petersburg

This production first seen January 27 2019
Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles

Introduction (on video, in German) will appear here and on YouTube shortly before opening night

The Marchese of Calatrava has forbidden his daughter Leonora to have any further contact with her beloved Alvaro, whose origins are non-White. Leonora and Alvaro's attempt to run away together is foiled by her father. A shot is fired during the confrontation, killing him. Leonora and Alvaro flee. Sc. 2 Leonora and Alvaro became separated during their escape. Leonora, searching for Alvaro, dressed as a man, finds herself in an inn where recruits are being enlisted for an imminent war. In the midst of the belligerent throng she realises that her brother Carlo, disguised as a student, is hunting for Alvaro, to avenge his father's death. Sc. 3 Leonora, sure she's lost Alvaro forever, begs to be admitted to a monastery. After initial hesitation Padre Guardiano, the prior, grants her wish. During a solemn ceremony, his fellow monks swear to support Leonora during her process of purification. Interval Alvaro and Carlo have joined the army, under false names – Alvaro, because he thinks he's lost Leonora forever; Carlo, because he's given up hope of finding Alvaro. Without knowing who the other one is the two men – despite their different colouring – become friends. But when Carlo discovers Alvaro's true identity he sees his time for revenge has come. The friends become bitter enemies, ready to fight to the death. Alvaro, sure he's killed Carlo, is desolate. Sc. 5 Alvaro has given up his old way of life and, as „Padre Raffaele“, now dedicates himself entirely to brotherly love. But Carlo, who survived, despite being badly wounded, tracks him down and challenges him to a duel. Carlo refuses to rise to Alvaro's provocations and tries to make peace. But when Carlo calls him a „half-breed“, he demands satisfaction. Sc. 6 Leonora had withdrawn to an isolated place. When, by chance, Alvaro and Carlo find her, a bloody showdown takes place. Tobias Kratzer

This grand scale opera about all consuming passion and the destructive power of racism, is electrifying. Verdi, at the height of his powers, wrote what was probably his most experimental score for St. Petersburg. Free from constraints, based on a romantic work by Duque de Rivas, he set off in a new direction, the scenes in this complicated story forming a kind of a montage. Psychologically charged encounters between the lead protagonists appear alongside huge choral numbers, which don't have much to do with the story. The Marchese von Calatrava forbids his daughter Leonora to enter into a relationship with Don Alvaro because of the colour of his skin.  A gun goes off when he bursts in on them, killing him. Leonora's brother Don Carlo spends three acts trying to hunt the lovers down, who became separated trying to escape, until the fatal reunion takes place. Tobias Kratzer stages the central theme of racism in scenes with wonderful theatrical effects.