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Credits
CONDUCTOR Roberto Abbado
DIRECTOR Damiano Michieletto
CHORUS MASTER Roberto Gabbiani
SET DESIGNER Paolo Fantin
COSTUME DESIGNER Carla Teti
LIGHTING DESIGNER Hans-Rudolf Kunz
VIDEO DESIGNER Timo Schlüssel

CAST
COUNT WALTER Riccardo Zanellato
RODOLFO Piero Pretti
FEDERICA Daniela Barcellona
WURM Marco Spotti
MILLER Enkhbat Amartuvshin
LUISA Roberta Mantegna

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma Orchestra and Chorus

A Opernhaus Zürich production
sung in Italian with Italian and English surtitles
Synopsis
Act One
«Love»
Luisa’s birthday is being celebrated in the Miller household. Besides her father and her friend Laura, the well-wishers include the huntsman Carlo, whom Luisa introduces to her father as her sweetheart. Miller is mistrustful. While the rest of the party make their way to the service in the nearby church, Wurm, who has recently become steward of the castle, confronts Miller. A year earlier Wurm has asked for Luisa’s hand; he does not accept Miller’s objection that he will not force his daughter to marry against her will. Wurm reveals Carlo’s true identity: it is Rodolfo, son of Count Walter, who has only recently come to power in the area. Miller, who has been worrying that his daughter has fallen prey to a seducer, sees his fears confirmed.
Through Wurm, Walter has learned of Rodolfo’s romantic involvement with a woman beneath his station. Indignant at the ingratitude of his son, for whom he has other plans, he informs Rodolfo that he will be marrying him off to Federica, widow of the Duke of Ostheim. Thanks to her connections at court, Rodolfo can look forward to a splendid career. The Duchess has already arrived; Rodolfo makes up his mind to confide in his childhood friend, confessing that he is in love with another woman. However, Federica, who has loved him since youth, shows that she would be implacable if Rodolfo were to refuse her hand.
Luisa is waiting for Carlo while a hunting party passes by. Miller, who has made enquiries at the castle, tells Luisa that her sweetheart is the son of the Count and shortly to marry a noble lady of high rank. Rodolfo, who has overheard the end of the conversation, swears that he will marry Luisa, even if he is the Count’s son. In reaction to Miller’s fears of Walter’s retribution, he alludes to a secret. His father’s fear of its disclosure is such that he is at Rodolfo’s mercy. The Count appears in person and insults Luisa, calling her a whore. Rodolfo draws his sword, first threatening his father, then his bride-to-be, whom he would rather kill than see dishonoured. Miller invokes his honour as an old soldier and challenges the Count. When Walter commands Luisa’s arrest, Rodolfo whispers in his father’s ear that he will reveal the secret of how he came to power. As a consequence, Walter revokes his order.
Act Two
«Intrigue»
Laura and the villagers tell Luisa that her father has been taken to prison. Wurm pretends to Luisa that Miller has been sentenced to death for lèse-majesté. In return for sparing Miller, Count Walter, he claims, requires that she write a letter in which she denies her love for Rodolfo. Reluctantly, Luisa writes the letter, which Wurm dictates to her and in which he presents himself as Luisa’s real lover. He also demands that she swear an oath recognising that she has written the letter of her own volition. Furthermore, she must accompany him to the castle and confess her feelings for Wurm before Federica.
Walter tells Wurm about Rodolfo’s threat. Together, Wurm and Walter had the latter’s predecessor, a childless relative, murdered. However, the dying man revealed the names of his murderers to Rodolfo. Should Wurm’s intrigue – intended to divide Rodolfo and Luisa – fail, both Wurm and Walter will be in danger of their lives. Out of fear for her father, Luisa lies to the Duchess that she has never loved any other man than Wurm. Federica gains new hope. Walter and Wurm seem to have won the game, while Luisa is in desperation.
A peasant, bribed to do so by Wurm, plays Luisa’s letter into Rodolfo’s hands. Rodolfo challenges his perceived rival to a duel. By shooting into the air, Wurm manages to escape. Walter pretends to agree to the marriage of Luisa and Rodolfo, whereupon Rodolfo tells him of Luisa’s infidelity. The Count suggests that Rodolfo avenge himself against Luisa by marrying Federica.
Act Three
«Poison»
Luisa has decided to commit suicide. In a letter intended to reach Rodolfo only after her death, she suggests that he do the same. Her father Miller, who has been released from prison and has learned everything from Wurm, reads Luisa’s letter of farewell. By reproaching his daughter for wanting to abandon him in his old age, he manages to persuade her to give up her plan. Instead, Luisa suggests that they leave the village the next morning to live a life as poor vagrants.
Preparations for Rodolfo’s wedding to Federica are underway in the church. While Luisa is at prayer, Rodolfo appears. He sends a servant to fetch his father, enters the house and furtively pours poison into a drink. When Luisa replies in answer to his question that she indeed wrote the letter to Wurm, he drinks some of it and, under a pretext, invites Luisa to do the same. He breaks it to her that she is soon to die with him; as a result, she no longer feels tied to her oath and tells him the truth.
The poison begins to take its toll. Miller has to watch as his daughter dies. When Wurm and Walter arrive on the scene, Rodolfo stabs Wurm, as the initiator of the intrigue, with the last of his strength, blaming his father for being accomplice to his own son’s death.

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  • Seating Chart
  • Credits

    CONDUCTOR Roberto Abbado
    DIRECTOR Damiano Michieletto

    CHORUS MASTER Roberto Gabbiani
    SET DESIGNER Paolo Fantin
    COSTUME DESIGNER Carla Teti
    LIGHTING DESIGNER Hans-Rudolf Kunz
    VIDEO DESIGNER Timo Schlüssel

    CAST
    COUNT WALTER Riccardo Zanellato
    RODOLFO Piero Pretti
    FEDERICA Daniela Barcellona
    WURM Marco Spotti
    MILLER Enkhbat Amartuvshin
    LUISA Roberta Mantegna

    Teatro dell’Opera di Roma Orchestra and Chorus

    A Opernhaus Zürich production
    sung in Italian with Italian and English surtitles

  • Synopsis

    Act One
    «Love»

    Luisa’s birthday is being celebrated in the Miller household. Besides her father and her friend Laura, the well-wishers include the huntsman Carlo, whom Luisa introduces to her father as her sweetheart. Miller is mistrustful. While the rest of the party make their way to the service in the nearby church, Wurm, who has recently become steward of the castle, confronts Miller. A year earlier Wurm has asked for Luisa’s hand; he does not accept Miller’s objection that he will not force his daughter to marry against her will. Wurm reveals Carlo’s true identity: it is Rodolfo, son of Count Walter, who has only recently come to power in the area. Miller, who has been worrying that his daughter has fallen prey to a seducer, sees his fears confirmed.
    Through Wurm, Walter has learned of Rodolfo’s romantic involvement with a woman beneath his station. Indignant at the ingratitude of his son, for whom he has other plans, he informs Rodolfo that he will be marrying him off to Federica, widow of the Duke of Ostheim. Thanks to her connections at court, Rodolfo can look forward to a splendid career. The Duchess has already arrived; Rodolfo makes up his mind to confide in his childhood friend, confessing that he is in love with another woman. However, Federica, who has loved him since youth, shows that she would be implacable if Rodolfo were to refuse her hand.
    Luisa is waiting for Carlo while a hunting party passes by. Miller, who has made enquiries at the castle, tells Luisa that her sweetheart is the son of the Count and shortly to marry a noble lady of high rank. Rodolfo, who has overheard the end of the conversation, swears that he will marry Luisa, even if he is the Count’s son. In reaction to Miller’s fears of Walter’s retribution, he alludes to a secret. His father’s fear of its disclosure is such that he is at Rodolfo’s mercy. The Count appears in person and insults Luisa, calling her a whore. Rodolfo draws his sword, first threatening his father, then his bride-to-be, whom he would rather kill than see dishonoured. Miller invokes his honour as an old soldier and challenges the Count. When Walter commands Luisa’s arrest, Rodolfo whispers in his father’s ear that he will reveal the secret of how he came to power. As a consequence, Walter revokes his order.

    Act Two
    «Intrigue»

    Laura and the villagers tell Luisa that her father has been taken to prison. Wurm pretends to Luisa that Miller has been sentenced to death for lèse-majesté. In return for sparing Miller, Count Walter, he claims, requires that she write a letter in which she denies her love for Rodolfo. Reluctantly, Luisa writes the letter, which Wurm dictates to her and in which he presents himself as Luisa’s real lover. He also demands that she swear an oath recognising that she has written the letter of her own volition. Furthermore, she must accompany him to the castle and confess her feelings for Wurm before Federica.
    Walter tells Wurm about Rodolfo’s threat. Together, Wurm and Walter had the latter’s predecessor, a childless relative, murdered. However, the dying man revealed the names of his murderers to Rodolfo. Should Wurm’s intrigue – intended to divide Rodolfo and Luisa – fail, both Wurm and Walter will be in danger of their lives. Out of fear for her father, Luisa lies to the Duchess that she has never loved any other man than Wurm. Federica gains new hope. Walter and Wurm seem to have won the game, while Luisa is in desperation.
    A peasant, bribed to do so by Wurm, plays Luisa’s letter into Rodolfo’s hands. Rodolfo challenges his perceived rival to a duel. By shooting into the air, Wurm manages to escape. Walter pretends to agree to the marriage of Luisa and Rodolfo, whereupon Rodolfo tells him of Luisa’s infidelity. The Count suggests that Rodolfo avenge himself against Luisa by marrying Federica.

    Act Three
    «Poison»

    Luisa has decided to commit suicide. In a letter intended to reach Rodolfo only after her death, she suggests that he do the same. Her father Miller, who has been released from prison and has learned everything from Wurm, reads Luisa’s letter of farewell. By reproaching his daughter for wanting to abandon him in his old age, he manages to persuade her to give up her plan. Instead, Luisa suggests that they leave the village the next morning to live a life as poor vagrants.
    Preparations for Rodolfo’s wedding to Federica are underway in the church. While Luisa is at prayer, Rodolfo appears. He sends a servant to fetch his father, enters the house and furtively pours poison into a drink. When Luisa replies in answer to his question that she indeed wrote the letter to Wurm, he drinks some of it and, under a pretext, invites Luisa to do the same. He breaks it to her that she is soon to die with him; as a result, she no longer feels tied to her oath and tells him the truth.
    The poison begins to take its toll. Miller has to watch as his daughter dies. When Wurm and Walter arrive on the scene, Rodolfo stabs Wurm, as the initiator of the intrigue, with the last of his strength, blaming his father for being accomplice to his own son’s death.

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