Music composed by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835). Libretto by Carlo Pepoli from TÍtes rondes et Cavaliers (1833) by Jacques Ancelot and Xavier Saintine.
First Performance: 24 January 1835 at ThÈ‚tre Italien,
|Lord Gualtiero Walton, Governor General of the fortress||Bass|
|Sir Giorgio, brother of Lord Walton, retired Puritan colonel||Bass|
|Lord Arturo Talbo, Cavalier, Stuart sympathizer||Tenor|
|Sir Riccardo Forth, Puritan colonel||Baritone|
|Sir Bruno Robertson, Puritan officer||Tenor|
|Enrichetta di Francia [Queen Henrietta Maria], widow of Charles
|Elvira, daughter of Lord Walton||Soprano|
Time and Place: Near Plymouth, England, during the Second
English Civil War after the execution of Charles I (30 January 1649)
Riccardo, a follower of Cromwell and his Puritans, and Arturo, a staunch
Cavalier who supports the Stuart cause, are both in love with Elvira, the
daughter of Lord Walton. Walton had originally promised Riccardo his
daughter’s hand in marriage but subsequently relented, not wishing to
disregard the feelings of his daughter, who is in love with Arturo. The
preparations for the nuptuals of Elvira and Arturo are in full swing.
Elvira as yet knows nothing of her good fortune. Her uncle, Giorgio,
informs her that he has interceded on her behalf with his brother, her
father, who has now agreed to her marrying Arturo.
Arturo arrives for the festivities. On discovering that a prisoner in the
fortress under sentence of death is, in fact, Queen Enrichetta, the widow of
Charles I of England, he enables her to escape by disguising her in Elvira’s
bridal veil. Elvira interprets this as desertion and loses her reason.
The English parliament has sentenced Arturo to death, and Elvira no longer
sees any sense in her life.
Giorgio hopes that a sudden piece of good news will cure Elvira and
restore her to reason, and what better news than that Aturo should be
pardoned. Giorgio persuades Riccardo to spare Arturo, if the latter does not
fight on the side of the Royalists in Cromwell’s impending battle against the
Cavalier followers of the Stuarts.
Arturo has returned to the fortress secretly to seek out Elvira and
convince her of his continued devotion. Cromwell’s soldiers apprehend him and
threaten him with execution. At this very moment Elvira suddenly becomes
aware of the situation and pleads, in vain, for Arturo’s life. At the very
last moment a messenger arrives with the news of Cromwell’s defeat of
the Stuart followers. Cromwell has issued a pardon for all prisoners. Arturo
is freed and there is now nothing to prevent the lovers from marrying.
Bayerische Staatsoper (translation: Susan Bollinger)]
here for the complete libretto.
image_description=Charles I in three positions – multiple portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641)
first_audio_name=Vincenzo Bellini: I puritani
product_title=Vincenzo Bellini: I puritani
product_by=Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Piero Campolonghi, Robert Silva, Tanis Lugo, Ignacio Rufino, Rosa Rimoch, Orchestra e Coro del Palacio de las Bellas Artes, Guido Picco (cond.)
Live recording, 29 May 1952, Mexico City