Maria Padilla (Donizetti) – O padre, tu l’odi, sua sposa mi chiama

Maria Padilla by Gaetano Donizetti

Power relations: family honour and tragedy. Written as a season-opener for La Scala, this is one of the neglected gems of Donizetti’s mature period, showing the composer at his most dramatic. First performed at the Teatro alla Scala Milan on December 26th 1841.

I told you I had diverse taste in music!

Click Review Below from

A rare but mature Donizetti opera once again provides Wexford with real opportunities that are seized by cast and conductor.

Barbara Quintiliani and Adriano Graziani in Maria Padilla at Wexford Opera House Photo: Patrick Redmond

Maria Padilla is based on the story of the mistress of King Pedro the Cruel of Castile, whose secret marriage to the monarch does not prevent his courtiers from bad-mouthing her nor, indeed, the king himself from making a more politically acceptable public marriage to a French princess.

During the course of the opera her father, furious at his daughter’s loss of honour, upbraids the king and is beaten for his pains. His subsequent madness and his daughter’s attempts to comfort him provide a scene of unusual power in a work that aims consistently high. Why this marvellous piece is not more frequently performed is a mystery.

Certainly the singers here give it their best shot. Leading from the front is the American soprano Barbara Quintiliani, a real discovery, whose substantial voice and technical accomplishment keep the character and her plight at the centre of attention.

As Don Pedro, her errant royal lover, Italian baritone Marco Caria is dynamic and arresting.

In the unusual role of Maria’s father, Don Ruiz, the Welsh tenor Adriano Graziani charts the course of the character’s disintegration imaginatively.

They would do better in a production with stronger individual direction than Marco Gandini provides and whose visuals, by designers Mauro Tinti and Silvia Aymonino, are eccentric and unhelpful. But the piece hits home under David Agler’s confident baton.

~ by castleqwayr on November 10, 2009.

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