A Mysterious Beauty With a Secret Identity.
La Donna del Lago is Rossini’s most romantic masterpiece. Why is it so infrequently seen? One reason: the formidable demands of the title role. Fortunately, Santa Fe audiences will see it performed by the fabulous mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato — who has earned acclaim for it in world opera capitals including Milan and Paris. Leading bel canto specialist Marianna Pizzolato sings Malcolm, and sought-after coloratura tenor Lawrence Brownlee sings Uberto. Stephen Lord conducts.
8:30 pm: July 13, 17, 26
8:00 pm: August 1, 6, 14, 19
Composer Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Andrea Leone
Performed in Italian
Dawn at Loch Katrine, Stirlingshire, Scotland: Elena, the Lady of the Lake, makes her daily crossing while shepherds watch their flocks and men hunt in the woods. She sings of her love for Malcolm Groeme, but comes across King James disguised as “Uberto,” who hoped to meet the legendary beauty Elena. Believing the King to be a lost hunter, she offers him hospitality and they depart for her home while the King’s men search for their disguised leader.
King James learns that Elena’s father is Duglas d’Angus, his former tutor who has since joined the Highland Clan opposed to James’s rule. He also learns of Elena’s betrothal to Rodrigo di Dhu, chief of the Highland Clan and enemy of the King, but his jealousy is assuaged upon seeing Elena’s lukewarm reaction to the prospect of her marriage. Malcolm, the suitor whom Elena loves, arrives shortly after James departs. Hidden, Malcolm must endure overhearing Duglas order his daughter to marry Rodrigo, as he commands. Duglas exits, leaving Malcolm and Elena to pledge their everlasting love.
The Highland warriors gather to welcome their leader, Rodrigo, who introduces Elena as his future bride once she and Duglas arrive. Malcolm has now resolved to join the Clan against the King, but his secret bond with Elena is perceived by Duglas and Rodrigo when they meet. They are interrupted, however, by news of an attack by the King’s army and the omen of a meteor passing overhead. Rodrigo and his warriors depart for battle. Scotland is at war.
Still disguised as Uberto, James searches desperately for Elena, hoping to protect her from the coming bloodshed. He finds her and once again pledges his love for her, but she rejects his advances. Nonetheless, he gives her a ring which he claims was given to him by the King and will secure her protection from the King’s forces. Rodrigo overhears this exchange and attempts to have his soldiers kill the stranger, but Ellen intercedes and Rodrigo vows to duel with Uberto himself.
Meanwhile, Malcolm has left the battle in the hopes of finding Ellen, but is informed she has followed her father to Stirling palace to seek peace. Rodrigo is reported to have been killed and the Highlanders now face certain defeat. Malcolm pledges that he will save Elena or face his own death.
Elena enters the castle determined to save the lives of her father, Malcolm, and Rodrigo; using the ring given by Uberto, she gains access to the King’s chambers. Elena is surprised to see nobles surrounding Uberto, and he soon reveals that he and King James are one and the same person. His feelings for her soften his attitude towards her father, and he pardons both Duglas and Malcolm. The lovers, Elena and Malcolm, are finally allowed to be together, and all rejoice as anew peace in Scotland reigns.
- Elena - Joyce DiDonato
- Malcolm Groeme - Marianna Pizzolato
- Uberto - Lawrence Brownlee
- Rodrigo di Dhu - René Barbera
- Douglas d'Angus - Wayne Tigges
- Conductor - Stephen Lord
- Director - Paul Curran
- Scenic Designer - Kevin Knight
- Costume Designer - Kevin Knight
- Lighting Designer - Duane Schuler