- Julian Budden
Opera in three acts by Umberto Giordano to a libretto by Arturo Colautti after Victorien Sardou play; Milan, Teatro Lirico, 17 November 1898.
Princess Fedora Romazov (soprano) is about to be married to Count Vladimir Andreyevich, captain of the Imperial Guard. Her love for him is symbolized in the Massenet- like theme of the prelude, which forms the first of the opera’s two main recurring motifs. However, in the opening scene, at Andreyevich’s house in St Petersburg, the servants leave no doubt that he is marrying the princess in order to restore his ruined fortunes. Fedora enters, expecting to meet him (‘O grandi gli occhi lucenti’), but when he arrives home it is on a stretcher, fatally wounded. The police chief Grech (bass) interrogates the witnesses: Cirillo (baritone), the coachman who heard two shots fired, the diplomat De Siriex (baritone), who traced bloodstains in the snow to a pavilion where the count’s body was found, and the groom, Dmitry (contralto), who remembers the delivery of a letter which was later removed by a visitor. His name was Count Loris Ipanov, who, it turns out, has fled the country. Fedora swears to bring him to justice as Vladimir’s murderer....