Mary, Queen of Scots
- Hugo Cole
Opera in three acts by Thea Musgrave to her own libretto after Amalia Elguera’s play Moray; Edinburgh, King’s Theatre, 6 September 1977.
The opera is set in Scotland at the time of Mary’s reign (1561–8). In Act 1, Mary (soprano) arrives from France to be met by her half-brother, the Earl of Moray (baritone), and by the Scottish baron Bothwell (tenor). They contend for influence at court, but Mary favours the Englishman Darnley (tenor), heir to both English and Scottish thrones. At Holyrood, Bothwell and his men disrupt courtly dances with a lusty Scottish reel. Bothwell quarrels with the queen’s minstrel, Riccio (tenor), and is banished from court, while Moray retires in anger at the queen’s decision to marry Darnley. In Act 2, Darnley’s familiars, Morton (baritone) and Ruthven (tenor), incite him to demand the crown. Darnley, led to believe that Riccio is the father of Mary’s child, murders Riccio. Moray attempts to seize power, but Mary wins the people’s support and banishes Moray. In the final act, Mary sends for Bothwell to put down a revolt led by Moray. She lets him ravish her as the price for his help. Darnley is murdered; the people turn against Mary and she is forced to escape to England leaving her child behind to be proclaimed king....