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Melodramma tragico in three acts
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano based on Friedrich Schiller's Kabale und Liebe / Intrigue and Love
First performed December 8 1849, Teatro San Carlo, Naples
Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles
Introduction (in German) will appear here and on YouTube before the production opens
»Love – Intrigue – Poison« - the titles of the three acts of Verdi's opera puts the action in Schiller's Kabal und Liebe / Intrigue and Love into a nutshell: Luisa Miller, a commoner, and Rodolfo, Count Walter's son, are in love. Their difference in status and subborn fathers make their lives a misery. Walter and his employee Wurm, who got Walter's predecessor, his cousin, out of the way, cook up an intrigue to prevent Rodolfo from marrying Luisa. He shall marry Federica, a very influential woman, instead. Rodolfo ends up poisoning Luisa and them himself. Just before they die they realise that their love was betrayed.
It was Verdi's idea to base an opera on Schiller's play. The composer and his librettist Cammarano set the action in a village in the Tirolean alps, instead of a German royal seat, in order to keep with operatic conventions and include rousing numbers for a chorus. The constellation of characters and some names were changed too. The focus of the opera – mainly because of strict censorship – is not the politically explosive stuff of Schiller's play but the emotional nature of the drama. People's emotions, what moves them come to the fore. The work was heard for the first time in 1849 and is rarely staged today.
With generous support from the