The tragic two-act opera with libretto by Giuseppe Bardari is based upon Maria Stuart, the 19th-century play by Friedrich von Schiller.
A work of historical fiction, the piece tells the story of the real-life Mary Stuart and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. San Diego Opera production notes describe it as "a powerful political and religious chess game where death makes the final move."
The plot takes off when "Queen Elizabeth confronts her cousin, the rebellious Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland who is accused of treason. Caught in the middle is the Earl of Leicester, who loves Mary but is desired by Elizabeth. In a dramatic confrontation between the two Queens, it becomes obvious there is no room in Britain for two such powerful adversaries."
This staging by Andrew Sinclair starred South African soprano Angela Gilbert in the title role. The roster of principal players also included American mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich as Queen Elizabeth, Armenian tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan as the Earl of Leicester and German bass Reinhard Hagen as Talbot. Edoardo M‹ller conducted.
San Diego Opera's season continues with the Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci double bill, which begins performances March 22.
For information and tickets, visit www.sdopera.com
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All photos by Ken Howard for San Diego Opera.