Earl of Essex

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1 (Britten: Gloriana). Ten. Robert Devereux, husband of Frances and brother of Penelope, Lady Rich. Essex is a favourite courtier of Queen Elizabeth I and entreats her to make him viceroy of Ireland. After the Queen has attempted to humiliate his wife (but only succeeded in making herself look a fool), she appoints Essex to the Irish post he has coveted. He fails in his campaign there and, arriving back in London, bursts in on the Queen when she is only partly dressed and without her wig. Essex tries to incite the Londoners to rebellion and is arrested as a traitor and sentenced to death. Queen Elizabeth signs the death warrant. Aria (2nd lute song): Happy were he. Created (1953) by Peter Pears.

2 (Donizetti: Roberto Devereux). See Devereux, Roberto.

Subjects: Opera.

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