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Estonian National Opera: La donna del lago

About the Event

Where will forbidden love that blossoms between a graceful Lady of the Lake and a mysterious highlander lead, when the fate of Scotland is at stake?

Concert performance of Gioachino Rossini’s opera on April 12, 2024 in the Estonian National Opera
Libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola after Sir Walter Scott’s eponymous epic poem
World premiere on September 24, 1819 in Teatro San Carlo, Naples

Conductor: Arvo Volmer

Although he wrote some 39 operas, Gioachino Rossini is generally known by audiences today for his comic operas such as “Il barbiere di Sivglia” or “La Cenerentola”. Much less‐widely known are his few, but noteworthy, serious works for the stage. Yet Rossini kicked off a fashionable trend with his “La donna del lago” (“Lady of the Lake”) in 1819. It was the first Italian opera to be based on a narrative poem by the Scottish Romantic poet, Sir Walter Scott. Scott’s works also provide the source material for Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and many other Italian operas.
Set in the 16th century Scottish Highlands, “La donna del lago” is an opera of love, loyalty and lochs with expansive ensembles and sparkling orchestration. The work stands out from the start for the extraordinary richness of its vocal writing, with frequent excursions into the stratosphere. Several moments of rare beauty have established the opera’s lasting reputation: like Rodrigo’s great entrance solo “Eccomi a voi … se a miei voti amor sorride”, Malcom’s cabaletta, not to mention Elena’s dazzling great solo “Tanti affetti” that brings the opera to a close.

In Scotland, the Highlanders are at war against King James V. Elena, the daughter of Douglas, a Highland chief, arouses the passion of the King, disguised a hunter Uberto. But the girl loves and is loved by young Highlander Malcolm. This love is thwarted by Douglas who wants his daughter to marry Rodrigo, the first Highlander in whom Scotland has vested all its hopes. Love will triumph in the end: the king kills his adversary, then pardons Douglas and Malcolm, generously giving the latter Elena’s hand.

Estonian National Opera

The Estonian National Opera company, established in 1870, presents a wide range of operas, operettas, ballets, and musicals.

The opera house itself was constructed in 1913 as the initiative of the 'Estonia' song and drama society. At the time, this Art Nouveau structure was the largest in Tallinn. During the Second World War, the theater was destroyed. Restored in the 1950s under Soviet rule, the architects kept the original facade, but the rest of the building combines Neoclassical and Stalinist elements.

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