Opera Scotland

Masnadieri I Masnadieri; The Brigands

Music

Giuseppe Verdi (born Busseto, 10 October 1813; died Milan, 27 January 1901)

Text

Andrea Maffei

Source

Play Die Räuber (1781) by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805).

 

Premieres

First performance: London (Her Majesty’s Theatre), 22 July 1847.

First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Festival Theatre), 19 August 1998.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.

 

Background

The Royal Opera and Ballet companies were expelled from their home while the long-awaited rebuilding was under way. This allowed the opera company to pay two visits to the Edinburgh Festival for the first time since 1961. The fact that Edinburgh at last possessed a well-equipped opera house also helped make this possible. The repertoire included work by Verdi, the fruit of the company’s short-lived scheme to perform all his operas in the years leading up to the centenary of his death. I Masnadieri, the only Verdi opera premiered in Britain, was not a great success, and did not lead to any further commissions for London. It had not featured in the Royal Opera’s repertoire before its 1998 staging, any more than it had been seen in Scotland. It may not be a masterpiece, but it contains very effective episodes, although it lacks the grand climaxes of its near contemporaries, such as Macbeth.

 

Characters

Massimiliano, Count Moor (bass)

Carlo, his elder son (tenor)

Francesco, Carlo’s brother (baritone)

Amalia, the Count’s ward, loved by Carlo (soprano)

Moser (bass)

Arminio (tenor)

Rolla (baritone)

 

Plot Summary

As a result of plotting by his younger brother Francesco, Carlo is disinherited by their father, Count Moor. He joins a band of outlaws, becoming their leader. Francesco has his father incarcerated and assumes his title. The old man is in danger of starving to death, before he is rescued by Carlo and reconciled to him. His robber colleagues take their revenge on Francesco, but when Carlo is reunited with Amalia he cannot face the idea of her being dishonoured through contact with his fellow criminals. He therefore stabs her before giving himself up to the authorities.

The Cast

Amalia
 the Count's ward, loved by Carlo
Arminio
 
Carlo
 the Count's elder son
Francesco
 Carlo's brother
Massimiliano
 Count Moor
Moser
 
Rolla
 a companion of Carlo Moor

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