Tuesday August 20th, 7:30 p.m.

FEDORA

An opera in three acts

by Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)

Libretto by Arturo Colautti
after the play Fédora by Victorien Sardou

Premièred at Teatro Lirico Internazionale in Milan on 17 November 1898

Cast

La Principessa Fedora Romazoff

La Countess Olga Sukarew

Il Conte Loris Ipanoff

De Siriex, a diplomat

Dimitri, a groom

Desiré, a valet

Il Barone Rouvel

Cirillo, a coachman

Boroff, a medical doctor

Gretch, a police officer

Lorek, a surgeon

Peasant Boy

Boleslao Lazinski, pianist

Older Loris

Daniela Dessì, soprano

Daria Kovalenko, soprano

Fabio Armiliato, tenor

Alfonso Antoniozzi, baritone

Margherita Rotondi, contralto

Manuel Pierattelli, tenor

Alessandro Fantoni, tenor

Luigi Roni, baritone

Claudio Ottino, baritone

Roberto Maietta, bass

Davide Mura, baritone

Sebastiano Carbone, contralto

Sirio Restani

Luca Alberti

Production

A 2015 production from The Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa

Direction by Rosetta Cucchi

Set Design by Tiziano Santi

Costume Design by Claudia Pernigotti

Lighting Design by Luciano Novelli

Chorus and Orchestra of The Teatro Carlo Felice

Conducted by Valerio Galli

Synopsis

NOTE: The director, Rosetta Cucchi, frames this production as Loris’ flashbacks. Before the music starts, an aged version of Loris walks to a chair downstage right, where he remains throughout the opera, looking at photo albums.
See the sidebar('Survivor guilt') for a discussion of this staging.

Act 1   The house of Count Vladimir Andreyevich, St Petersburg, in winter 1881

While Count Vladimir is out, his servants gossip about the advantages of their impecunious master’s approaching wedding to the wealthy widow Princess Fedora Romazov. The princess herself arrives unexpectedly. While waiting for the count, she admires the house and a portrait of her husband-to-be.

A police officer, Gretch, appears with the diplomat De Siriex, followed by agents carrying Vladimir, who has been shot and wounded.

Under questioning, the coachman Cirillo relates how he drove Vladimir to a shooting club, but while waiting outside heard two shots and saw a man rush out.

Vladimir was found in an isolated pavilion, lying in a pool of blood. It emerges that, as the son of the chief of police, he has been receiving threats, and suspicion falls on Nihilists. Various clues link the pavilion to a letter, now missing, received earlier in the day by Vladimir. His recollection of a man coming to visit but running off inexplicably now leads Fedora to conclude that this must be the perpetrator, and she swears to avenge her fiancé.

The porter names the suspect as Loris Ipanov, and Grech goes off to find him. Fedora is called by the doctor attending Vladimir. As she enters his room, word comes that Ipanov has escaped, but oblivious to all else she approaches the dead count’s bedside and collapses in grief.

Act 2   A reception at the Paris home of Fedora Romazov

Fedora has tracked down her enemy in Paris, and while her cousin Countess Olga Sukarev parades her latest protégé, an exiled Polish pianist named Lazinski, she introduces Loris to De Siriex and confides that he has fallen in love with her.

In the course of conversation Fedora refers enigmatically to a cure for all ills kept in the cross she wears. De Siriex flirtatiously sings to Olga in praise of Russian women. She replies with a sour commentary on French men. Loris openly declares his love to Fedora.

While Lazinski plays for the guests, Fedora draws the information from Loris that he has fled Russia because he was accused of a crime. Although he eventually admits to killing Vladimir, Loris insists that he has proof that will exonerate him. Fedora tells him to return with the proof, but when he leaves she exults at having achieved her goal. Word arrives that an attempt has been made on the tsar’s life, and the party is abandoned.

After some hesitation, Fedora begins to write a letter. Gretch slips into the room to tell her that Loris has received a message from his brother. Fedora adds the brother’s name to the letter that she hands to Gretch, who understands that it is for the chief of police. Fedora arranges to deliver Loris to Gretch’s men as they wait outside. Loris returns, and tells Fedora the full story of how he had rushed into marriage, only to discover his wife was having an affair with Vladimir.

The letters that Loris shows Fedora confirm the count’s deceit, and he explains that when he surprised the guilty couple in the pavilion, Vladimir shot first. Loris fired back, fatally wounding his adversary.

Fedora’s sympathies are now with Loris, and knowing that she has laid a trap for him, she begs him to stay with her. They express their love for each other.

Act 3   Fedora’s villa in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland

Loris and Fedora are living blissfully in Switzerland, with Olga their house guest, when De Siriex comes to visit. He first breaks the news that Lazinski was a spy, but suggests a bicycle ride to cheer up the dismayed Olga. Left alone with Fedora, De Siriex explains that on receiving her letter, the chief of police had Loris’s brother imprisoned as an accomplice; when the nearby River Neva flooded, he drowned in his cell, and the shock of this tragedy caused Loris’s mother to die of grief.

De Siriex and Olga set off on their bicycles, leaving the guilt-ridden Fedora praying to God to save Loris but not herself. Returning from the post office, Loris opens a telegram from his friend Borov, and learns that he has been pardoned by the tsar and is free to go back to Russia. A second message from Borov, however, brings the news of the deaths of his brother and mother, and the information that a Russian woman living in Paris had made the denunciation.

Devastated, Loris determines to expose and punish her, and when Borov himself is heard arriving, Fedora seeing no way out, pours the poison from her cross into a cup of tea. Her repeated attempts to intercede on the anonymous woman’s behalf finally reveal to Loris that she herself is responsible.

Fedora begs vainly for his forgiveness. When he curses her and is even prepared to kill her, she takes the poison and dies in his arms.