VERDI: Luisa Miller — Reggio Emilia 1976

Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano after
Friedrich von Schiller’s play Kabale und Liebe.

First Performance: 8 December 1849, Teatro San Carlo,

Principal Roles:
Count Walter Bass
Rodolfo, his son Tenor
Federica, Duchess of Ostheim and Walter’s niece Contralto
Wurm, Walter’s steward Bass
Miller, a retired soldier Baritone
Luisa, his daugher Soprano
Laura, a peasant girl Mezzo-Soprano
A peasant Tenor

Setting: The Tyrol, in the first half of the 17th


Act I

Scene 1: A village

On Luisa’s birthday, the villagers have gathered outside her house
to serenade her. She loves Carlo, a young man she has met in the village (Lo
vidi e’l primo palpito / “I saw him and my heart felt its first
thrill of love”) and looks for him in the crowd. Luisa’s father,
Miller, is worried by this mysterious love since Carlo is a stranger. Carlo
appears and the couple sing of their love (Duet: t’amo d’amor
ch’esprimere / “I love you with a love that words can only
express badly”). As the villagers leave to enter the nearby church,
Miller is approached by a courtier, Wurm, who is in love with Luisa and
wishes to marry her. But Miller tells him that he will never make a decision
against his daughter’s will (Sacra la scelta Ë d’un consorte /
“The choice of a husband is sacred”). Irritated by his reply,
Wurm reveals to Miller that in reality Carlo is Rodolfo, Count Walter’s
son. Alone, Miller expresses his anger (Ah fu giusto il mio sospetto /
“Ah! My suspicion was correct”).

Scene 2: Count Walter’s castle

Wurm informs the Count of Rodolfo’s love for Luisa and Wurm is
ordered to summon the son. The Count expresses his frustration with his son
(Il mio sangue la vita darei / “Oh, everything smiles on me”).
When he enters, tells Rodolfo that it is intended that he marry
Walter’s niece Federica, the Duchess of Ostheim.

When Rodolfo is left alone with Federica, he confesses that he loves
another woman, hoping that the duchess will understand. But Federica is too
much in love with him to understand (Duet: Deh! la parola amara perdona al
labbro mio / “Pray forgive my lips for the bitter words”).

Scene 3: Miller’s house

Miller tells his daughter who Rodolfo really is. Rodolfo arrives and
admits his deception but swears that his love is sincere. Kneeling in front
of Miller he declares that Luisa is his bride. Count Walter enters and
confronts his son. Drawing his sword, Miller defends his daughter and Walter
orders that both father and daughter be arrested. Rodolfo stands up against
his father and threatens him: if he does not free the girl, Rodolfo will
reveal how Walter became count. Frightened, Walter orders Luisa to be

Act II

Scene 1: A room in Miller’s home

Villagers come to Louisa and tell her that her father has been seen being
dragged away in chains. Then Wurm arrives and confirms that Miller is to be
executed. But he offers her a bargain: her father’s freedom in exchange
for a letter in which Luisa declares her love for Wurm and states that she
has tricked Rodolfo. Initially resisting (Tu puniscimi, O Signore /
“Punish me, o Lord”), she gives way and writes the letter at the
same time being warned that she must keep up the pretense of voluntarily
writing the letter and being in love with Wurm. Cursing him (A brani, a
brani, o perfido / “O perfidious wretch”), Luisa wants only to

Scene:2: A room in Count Walter’s castle

At the castle Walter and Wurm recall how the Count rose to power by
killing his own cousin and Wurm reminds the Count how Rodolfo also knows of
this. The two men realize that, unless they act together, they may be doomed
(Duet: L’alto retaggio non ho bramato / “The noble inheritance of
my cousin”). Duchess Federica and Luisa enter. The girl confirms the
contents of her letter.

Scene 3: Rodolfo’s rooms

Rodolfo reads Luisa’s letter and, ordering a servant to summon Wurm,
he laments the happy times which he spent with Luisa (Quando le sere al
placido / “When at eventide, in the tranquil glimmer of a starry
sky”). The young man has challenged Wurm to a duel. To avoid the
confrontation the courtier fires his pistol in the air, bringing the Count
and his servants running in. Count Walter advises Rodolfo to revenge the
offense he has suffered by marrying Duchess Federica. In despair, Rodolfo
abandons himself to fate (L’ara o l’avella apprestami /
“Prepare the alter or the grave for me”).


A room in Miller’s home

In the distance echoes of the celebration of Rodolfo and Federica’s
wedding can be heard. Old Miller, freed from prison, comes back home. He
enters his house and embraces his daughter, then reads the letter she has
prepared for Rodolfo. Luisa is determined to take her own life (La tomba e un
letto sparso di fiori / “The grave is a bed strewn with
flowers”), but Miller manages to persuade her to stay with him. (Duet:
La filia, vedi, pentita / “Your child, see, repentant”. Alone
now, Luisa continues praying. Rodolfo slips in and unseen pours poison into
the water jug on the table. He then asks Luisa if she really wrote the letter
in which she declared her love for Wurm. “Yes,” the girl replies.
Rodolfo drinks a glass of water then passes a glass to Luisa and invites her
to drink. Then he tells her that they are both condemned to die. Before she
dies, Luisa has time to tell Rodolfo the truth about the letter (Duet: Ah
piangi; it tuo dolore / “Weep your sorrow is more justified”).
Miller returns and comforts his dying daughter; together the three say their
prayers and farewells (Trio, Luisa: Padre, ricevi l’estremo addio /
“Father, receive my last farewell”; Rodolfo: Ah! tu perdona il
fallo mio / “Oh, forgive my sin”; Miller: O figlia, o vita del
cor paterno / “Oh, child, life of your father’s heart”). As
she dies, peasants enter with Count Walter and Wurm and before he too dies,
Rodolfo runs his sword through Wurm’s breast declaring to his father La
pena tua mira / “Look on your punishment”.

[Synopsis Source: Wikipedia]

Click here
for the complete libretto

image_description=Friedrich Schiller by Ludovike Simanowiz (1759-1827)
first_audio_name=Giuseppe Verdi: Luisa Miller
product_title=Giuseppe Verdi: Luisa Miller
product_by=Luisa Miller: Mara Zampieri; Rodolfo: Gianfranco Cecchele; Miller: Giorgio Zancanaro; Count Walter: Carlo De Bortoli; Federica: Jone Jori; Wurm: Maurizio Mazzieri; Laura: Rina Pallini. Orchestra Stabile della Emilia Romagna. Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, conducting. Live performance, 11 January 1976, Reggio Emilia.