Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of La donna del lago. It was last on stage 17 May—11 June 2013 as part of the Spring 2012/13 season.
King James V is entranced when he meets a beautiful woman, Elena, in the Highlands. But he is dismayed to learn that she is the daughter of his enemy, Douglas. Elena, meanwhile, is in love, but not with James V or her fiancée…
La donna del lago is one of the most lyrical of Gioachino Rossini’s operas, with expansive ensembles and shimmering orchestration. It is based on Walter Scott’s 1810 poem The Lady of the Lake and features a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola. Although its premiere in Naples in 1819 was a success it was rarely staged throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries. John Fulljames’s new production provides an opportunity to experience an underperformed gem.
La donna del lago opens in the atmospheric surroundings of the Scottish Highlands, as Elena – the titular Lady of the Lake – rows across Loch Katrine, singing of her love for romantic hero Malcolm. Elena’s exquisite arias are contrasted with moments of high drama, from the stormy confrontation between Rodrigo and the King to the orchestral frenzy unleashed at the sighting of a meteor.
News and features
15 September 2016
From the Queen of the Night to Turandot by way of Norma and Brünnhilde, we round up some of opera’s most devilishly difficult soprano roles.
13 June 2016
With distinctive warm tones and a wide vocal range, Verdi realized the mezzo's potential - with exciting consequences.
17 October 2014
With artworks hostage to fashion and cultural sentiment, why a little digging might unearth a new classic.
14 May 2014
Other winners include Daniel Barenboim, Welsh National Opera and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
28 May 2013
Audience tweets from the cinema relay of John Fulljames's Royal Opera production.
23 May 2013
We'd like to hear your thoughts on the growing silver screen trend.
La donna del lago (The Lady of the Lake) is an opera composed by Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola (whose verses are described as "limpid" by one critic) based on the French translation of The Lady of the Lake, a narrative poem written in 1810 by Sir Walter Scott, whose work continued to popularize the image of the romantic highlands. Scott's basic story has been noted as coming from "the hint of an incident stemming from the frequent custom of James V, the King of Scotland, of walking through the kingdom in disguise". It was the first of the Italian operas to be based on Scott's romantic works, and marked the beginning of romanticism in Rossini's work. It was "deeply influential in the development of Italian romantic opera" to the extent that by 1840 (barely 20 years after this opera), there were 25 Italian operas based on his works, the most famous being Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor of 1835. Others in German, French and English followed. Written for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, this was the seventh of nine operas which Rossini wrote for that house between 1815 and 1822. Although the première on 24 September 1819 was not a success, there followed many performances throughout major European venues (as well as being presented in Cuba and by major South American houses) until about 1860, after which the opera disappeared until 1958. In modern times, performances have been given fairly frequently.