Gaetano Donizetti was determined to present an opera after Schiller’s tragedy Maria Stuart (1800) at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, but it was banned by King Ferdinand II and his spouse, who took offence at the execution of Mary Stuart in the final scene. At the very last moment, just before the opening night, Donizetti was forced to adapt the music to a totally different libretto about party disputes in the Italian Renaissance!
The composer later largely restored the opera for the Scala in Milan, but it was still an adapted version. The master’s initial intentions came to light only when the original version of the manuscript was discovered in Sweden.
Maria Stuarda focuses on the double struggle between the Elizabeth, Queen of England, and Mary, Queen of Scots, for the throne and for their lover, the Duke of Leicester. With a minimum of characters, Donizetti manages to accomplish a maximum of drama.
Future opera productions