Maria Tudor (‘Mary Tudor’)
- Gerard Béhague
Opera seria in four acts by Carlos Gomes to a libretto by Emilio Praga after victor Hugo’s play; Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 27 March 1879.
The action takes place in London in the 1550s. Giovanna (mezzo-soprano), a young orphan, is the fiancée of Gilberto (bass) but has been seduced by a young man whom she knows as Lionel. Lionel is in fact Count Fabiano Fabiani (tenor), whose scandalous relationship with Queen Mary is the subject of gossip. Don Gil (baritone) warns Gilberto that he has a rival but Gilberto disbelieves him. Fabiano arrives and Giovanna runs to him, thinking it is Lionel. Seeing them, Gilberto becomes furious and tries to seize Fabiano, who flees. In despair, Gilberto tells Giovanna that her lover is the favourite of Queen Mary. Giovanna faints and Don Gil intimates that he can help Gilberto to avenge his honour and his love.
In the royal palace, Mary Tudor (soprano) appears for a reception. Once alone with her, Fabiano expresses his resentment against Don Gil, the ambassador of Philip II, King of Spain, who intends to marry the Queen, but Mary affirms her love for Fabiano. Don Gil requests an audience with the Queen and Fabiano leaves. Don Gil reveals Fabiano’s treason and his infidelity. Giovanna enters; Mary, forcing her to confess that her lover Lionel is actually Fabiano, swears revenge. During a reception at the court, Fabiano becomes worried at the Queen’s cold attitude. After she has accepted an engagement ring sent by the King of Spain, Mary asks Don Gil to bring Gilberto to her. She has Fabiano and Gilberto arrested and sent to the Tower of London on the pretext that Fabiano ordered Gilberto to kill her. Giovanna begs for clemency....