Met Opera HD presents ‘Roberto Devereux’ in Breckenridge
Special to the Daily
The Metropolitan Opera High Definition broadcast of Gaetano Donizetti’s opera, “Roberto Devereux,” will be held at Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge, on Saturday, April 16 beginning at 11 a.m. The Met HD series is presented by the National Repertory Orchestra and Colorado Mountain College.
Set in early 17th Century Tudor England, this opera’s story was inspired by a historical incident — the execution for treason of an Army Lieutenant, Robert Devereux. The focus in the opera is on the discontent within the royalty, as Queen Elizabeth I is forced to sign a death warrant for Earl Roberto Devereux, of whom she is secretly in love.
Act I opens at the Palace of Nonsuch in 1600 London, where Sara, Duchess of Nottingham, is seen reading a book. She is in distress, not because of the story, but about her personal plight of being in love with Roberto. Queen Elizabeth, with her ladies of the court, arrive as we learn that the queen also is in love with Roberto, but expressing concerned that his love may have turned to another woman. Lord Cecile enters demanding that the queen sign Roberto’s death warrant. She is hesitant as Roberto arrives on the scene.
As the courtiers are dismissed, the queen reminds Roberto of the ring she had given him for his safety during his army tour of duty. As he ignores her talk of past love, the queen becomes suspicious and furious when he refuses to disclose who her rival might be. Duke Noddingham arrives informing Roberto that he will defend him in the upcoming counsel meeting to determine his fate. In a quick scene change back to her apartment, Sara is distressed over Roberto’s fate. He next arrives reproaching her for having married Nottingham during the time he was away on Army duty, only to learn that it was at the queen’s order. Sara gives him a blue scarf in pledge of her affection as he flees for his own safety.
Act II is back in the Palace of Nonsuch, where the court awaits the news of Roberto’s fate. Elizabeth enters when Lord Cecil announces that the council approved Roberto’s death sentence. When arrested, a blue scarf had been found concealed in Roberto’s clothing. Elizabeth angrily examines the scarf. As Roberto is led in, the Queen with scarf in hand turns on him furiously. Noddingham also is shocked, angrily drawing his sword. When Roberto again refuses to disclose to Elizabeth the name of her rival, she in a blind rage signs the death warrant.
Act III is in three separate scenes. Opening Sara is seen reading a letter from Roberto imploring that she, for her safety, take the ring to Elizabeth. Noddingham arrives. After reading the letter and ignoring Sara’s plea of innocence, has her dismissed. The next scene is in the prison Tower where Roberto sings an aria expressing his hope to clear Sara’s name before his death. The last scene has the queen, surrounded by her silent ladies, waiting hopefully that her order to stop the execution was met. In the background a cannon announces Roberto’s death, as the opera ends with Elizabeth in distress.
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