Stuarda, Maria

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(Donizetti: Maria Stuarda). Sop. (but sometimes sung by mez.). Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V and mother of James VI of Scotland (James I of England), whose father was Lord Darnley, her second husband. Imprisoned in Fotheringay Castle by Queen Elizabeth I, her cousin and rival for the throne and the love of the Earl of Leicester. She is visited in gaol by the Queen, with disastrous results. Elizabeth accuses her of treason and of being involved in Darnley's murder. She in turn calls Elizabeth a ‘vile bastard’. Now nothing can save her. Leicester's pleas for mercy go unheeded as Elizabeth signs Mary's death warrant and orders Leicester to witness her execution. Talbot hears her confession and her last wish is that she be escorted to the scaffold by her companion Hannah (Anna) Kennedy. She maintains her innocence and her dignity to the end. Arias: Guarda: su’ prati appare… (‘Look: in these fields appear…’); Deh! Non piangete! (‘Alas! Do not weep!’). Created (1834, as Bianca) by Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis; (1835) by Giacinta Puzzi‐Tosi. See also article by Dame Janet Baker.

Subjects: Opera.

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