Maria Padilla is a melodramma , or opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Gaetano Rossi and the composer wrote the Italian libretto after François Ancelot's play. It premiered on 26 December 1841 at La Scala, Milan. The plot is loosely based on the historical figure María de Padilla, the mistress of Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile.
The American premiere took place in 1990 when the young Renée Fleming made her major debut with Opera Omaha.Among other performances, the opera was presented by the Buxton Festival in 2003 and by the Minnesota Opera in 2005.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 26 December 1841|
(Conductor: Eugenio Cavallini)
|Donna Maria Padilla, Ruiz' daughter||soprano||Sophie Löwe|
|Donna Ines Padilla, Ruiz' daughter||soprano||Luigia Abbadia|
|Don Pedro, prince of Castile||baritone||Giorgio Ronconi|
|Don Ruiz di Padilla||tenor||Domenico Donzelli|
|Don Ramiro, duke of Albequerque||bass||Gaetano Rossi|
|Don Luigi, count of Aguillar||tenor||Ranieri Pochini|
|Don Alfonso di Pardo||bass||Agostino Berini|
|Bianca di Francia||silent|
|Gentlemen, Castilian and French dignitaries, hunters, vassals of Padilla, guards, Castilian and French pages|
Maria tells her sister Ines that she hopes to marry Don Pedro, the ruler of Castile. When he sneaks into her room disguised as Mendez, Maria tells him that she knows his true identity and demands marriage to save her honour. Don Pedro acquiesces, although the marriage must be kept secret. After their elopement, a faction of the Don Pedro's court wants him marry Bianca, a Bourbon princess, in order to avoid a civil war. He appears to be negotiating this, despite his secret marriage to Maria.
Meanwhile, Maria's father, Don Ruiz di Padilla, appears at the court. Believing that she is merely Don Pedro's mistress, he challenges the prince to a duel, but is led away in disgrace. Maria visits her father and tries to explain that she is the secret wife of Don Pedro, but her father refuses to listen.
Much to Maria's horror, Bianca arrives at the court, and is welcomed by Maria's enemies there as Don Pedro's bride and their queen. Instead, Don Pedro proclaims Maria as his queen and she dies of joy. (In the original ending which was changed by the censors, Maria grabbed the crown from Bianca's head and then committed suicide.)
Opera House and Orchestra
Christian du Plessis
| Alun Francis |
London Symphony Orchestra and Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
|Audio CD: Opera Rara |
|1990|| Renée Fleming,|
Hans Gregory Ashbaker,
Opera/Omaha Orchestra and Chorus
(Recording of a performance in the Auditorium of the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, September)
|Audio CD: Premiere Opera|
Cat: CDNO 8932