Europe in 1825: A group of aristocrats travelling from all over Europe to the coronation of Charles X of France are stranded in a luxury spa hotel near Reims due to a lack of horses. The situation soon descends into a morass of love affairs, chicanery, secret plans and jealous passions. But necessity is the mother of invention: In the end, everyone agrees to throw a »peace« party to bring about a general reconciliation. Gioachino Rossini’s »scenic cantata« was written in 1825 on the occasion of the actual coronation celebrations held in Paris for Charles X. This highly virtuosic and musically dazzling piece of satire gathers together Europe’s great powers from the first half of the 19th century in the seemingly innocuous setting of a hotel. In Laura Scozzi’s humorous yet bitterly serious production, the European aristocrats become EU politicians, trying to reconcile their interests according to the EU motto »United in Diversity«. They meet at the very heart of Europe, namely in the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels.
In Europe: A group of nobles from all over Europe gathered in a hotel to attend the upcoming coronation of the new French king in the cathedral of Reims. The hotel’s owner, Madame Cortese, and her employees are getting all the staff to get everything ready for the departure. The hotel doctor Don Prudenzio is conscientiously checking the travel group’s breakfast. The Countess of Folleville is eagerly awaiting her precious festive attire. Upon hearing that this has been damaged in an accident, the Parisian lady faints. It is only with the message that one of her hats has been saved that she regains consciousness and all the worried hotel guests around her breathe a sigh of relief. Austrian Baron von Trombonok and the Italian Don Profondo are amongst the guests and become witnesses to the display of jealously between the Spaniard Don Alvaro and the Russian Count Libenskof. Libenskof is in a relationship with Polish Marquise Melibea and Alvaro is crazy about her. Offended by Libenskof's suspicions, Melibea wants to leave him. It is only the sudden song of the Roman poet Corinna that calms the tempers. Madame Cortese is extremely worried as the horses needed for the journey haven’t arrived yet. A further guest of the hotel, Englishman Lord Sidney, is consumed by love for Corinna. Chevalier Belfiore has also noticed the ethereal singer and wants to win her over with his French charm. She, nevertheless, resolutely rejects him. All ready for the departure, Don Profondo gathers the guests and their luggage. However, the sudden news that there are no horses ruins all the travel plans. Faced with the truth, the travel group realises that they are stuck here and will miss the coronation! Only a letter, which Madame Cortese receives from her husband eases the situation. After the coronation in Reims there will be a whole week of festivities in the capital where everyone who was unable to attend the coronation will be able to celebrate. The Countess of Folleville immediately offers everyone the chance to stay in her house in Paris. Relieved, the group decides to end the evening with a lavish banquet in honour of the king and to continue travelling to Paris the next day. Marquise Melibea makes up with Count Libenskof and is captured by his declaration of love. The guests celebrating with hymns and songs from the their home countries: »Long live the new ruler!«