Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Maria Stuarda. It was last on stage 5–18 July 2014 as part of the Summer 2013/14 season.
Mary, Queen of Scots, has been imprisoned by her cousin Elizabeth I of England. The Earl of Leicester urges Elizabeth to meet with Mary and be reconciled, but Elizabeth grows jealous of Leicester’s admiration for her cousin.
Gaetano Donizetti’s historical opera Maria Stuarda was banned by the authorities in Milan after its 1835 premiere, due to its perceived inflammatory content. The opera lay neglected for over a hundred years until 1958, when a performance in Donizetti’s hometown of Bergamo re-introduced it to the opera repertory. Maria Stuarda has since grown steadily in popularity. It is recognized as containing some of Donizetti’s most moving music, including Mary’s confession duet with Talbot and her poignant aria in the final scene of the opera, as she calmly faces her approaching death.
Maria Stuarda provides a magnificent showcase for the two singers playing Mary and Elizabeth, particularly in their extended duet in Act II. Famous pairings for the roles of the regal cousins have included Joan Sutherland and Huguette Tourangeau, both of whom starred in the first production of Maria Stuarda at Covent Garden in 1977, and Janet Baker and Rosalind Plowright, who sang the roles for ENO.
News and features
18 July 2014
This tumultuous period of British history inspired a host of 19th-century operas.
16 July 2014
Maria Stuarda wasn't the only of the composer's operas to raise official hackles.
11 July 2014
Cast includes Joyce DiDonato, Carmen Giannattasio, Ismael Jordi and Jeremy Carpenter, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.
7 July 2014
Composers have long been inspired by the work of playwrights.
6 July 2014
What did you think of Moshe Leiser's and Patrice Caurier's arresting new production of Donizetti's Tudor tragedy?
4 July 2014
The Italian soprano tells BBC Radio 3 about how she approaches opera's twin demands of singing and acting, and the challenges of wearing a two-stone costume.
Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart) is a tragic opera (tragedia lirica), in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffei's translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play Maria Stuart. The opera is one of a number of operas by Donizetti which deal with the Tudor period in English history, including Anna Bolena (named for Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn), Roberto Devereux (named for a putative lover of Queen Elizabeth I of England) and Il castello di Kenilworth. The lead female characters of the operas Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and Roberto Devereux are often referred to as the "Three Donizetti Queens". The story is loosely based on the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots (as Mary Stuart is known in England) and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Schiller had invented the confrontation of the two Queens, who in fact never met. After a series of problems surrounding its presentation in Naples after the final dress rehearsal – including having to be re-written for a totally different location, a different time period, and with Buondelmonte as its new title – Maria Stuarda as we know it today premiered on 30 December 1835 at La Scala in Milan.