Venice and Ferrara, around 1505. Two friends, Maffio Orsini and Gennaro, meet at a masquerade. They are supposed to travel to the Duke of Ferrara, who has just wed Lucrezia Borgia. This name reminds the young men of terrible crimes, while Orsini also recalls a prophecy that Lucrezia would be the cause of his and Gennaro’s doom. While everyone else joins the festivities, Gennaro (who has stayed behind) makes advances to a masked lady (Lucrezia), who in turn is being secretly observed by her masked husband. The duke expects the young man to pay for the affair with his life. In Ferrara, he forces Lucrezia to give Gennaro cup of poison. However, she immediately gives him the antidote and urges him to flee. Before leaving, he is persuaded to attend the party of Princess Negroni. An argument arises, and poisoned wine is offered as a conciliatory drink. Lucrezia lets the dying Venetians know that their deaths are meant to redress her dishonour. She recognizes Gennaro among her victims, and sorrowfully reveals that she is his mother.
Opera concertante Opera with prologue in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti Libretto by Felice Romani After Victor Hugo's play of the same name Performed in Italian
Premiere 12 Sep 2010