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© Masiar Pasquali

Donizetti Maria Stuarda

From 20 June TO 29 June 2024
Teatro di San Carlo - Napoli

Donizetti : Maria Stuarda

  • Conductor
    Riccardo Frizza
  • Director
    Jetske Mijnssen
  • Performers
    Maria Stuarda: Pretty Yende
    Elisabetta: Aigul Akhmetshina
    Leicester: Francesco Demuro
    Talbot: Carlo Lepore
    Lord Cecil: Sergio Vitale
Details on the Performance

Maria Stuarda by Donizetti was premiered at San Carlo in 1834 in a revised version. This return, 190 years later, to its birthplace stage is highly anticipated, as the magnificent South African soprano Pretty Yende will take on the title role. An opportunity not to be missed!

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Teatro di San Carlo - Napoli Location Via San Carlo, 98F - 80132 Napoli Italie

  • Venue's Capacity: 1386

The "San Carlo" is the world's oldest opera house still in activity. Right from the start, in 1737, people came from far and wide to admire the theatre's excellent 42-musician orchestra, and to applaud the castratos trained at the Naples Conservatory (like the famous Farinelli), as well as divas known by their nicknames, "la Parruchierrina," or "la Bastarella," for example. And the house in itself, with its sumptuous architecture and no less than six stories of boxes, was no minor attraction: Stendhal was enchanted by the hall's charm, and Paul Klee was fascinated by what he described as this "superb, heavy, and obscure theatre."

In 1816, fire burned down the theatre, and Ferdinand de Bourbon reconstructed an identical building with amazing speed, for Naples, robbed of its opera house, was plunged in mourning, and threatened to not support its sovereign. Let's not forget that at that time, the reign of Domenico Barbaja (nicknamed "The Prince of Impresarios" by Alexander Dumas) had already begun brilliantly. In 1815. this Milanese ex-cafe waiter, who is often credited with the invention of whipped-cream, had had the brilliant idea of hiring Gioacchino Rossini in person as the theatre's artistic director. This exceptional LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR for the San Carlo), while launching, in 1826, a young composer called Vincenzo Bellini. The Neapolitan stage became the place where several singers' careers were made or broken; the famous French tenor Adolphe Nourrit, for example, who considered that the applause had not been sufficient, commited suicide after a performance at the San Carlo. The composer Saverio Mercadante then won the favours of the San Carlo's notorious audience, to such an extent that Verdi at first felt ill at ease in the theatre. Only to better triumph in 1872, when he organized an entire season, and had an orchestra pit added.

During the twentieth century, the stars of the Scala have sometimes overshadowed those of the San Carlo, an historic rivalry that has always existed, in a country where music lovers must choose sides. But the Neapolitan stage defends itself by ever enriching, even to this day, the world's largest repertoire of works ever premiered in an opera house, while legendary singers, such as Beniamino Gigli (who performed in the theatre from 1915 to 1953), have always remained exceptionally faithful to the San Carlo audience, which also happens to be one of the warmest anyone could imagine.

Teatro di San Carlo

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.


Maria Stuarda



Maria Stuarda is a tragic opera by Gaetano Donizetti based on the translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play titled Maria Stuart, a story based on the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Maria Stuarda is one of Donizetti's operas which focus on the Tudor and Stuart period. The opera was first performed on December 30, 1835 at La Scala, Milan.

Act 1

Within the palace walls, the Queen of England, Elisabetta considers the King of France's marriage proposal. This is a perfect match politically for her subjects. For her on the other hand, such a union won't be perfect as she finds herself longing for the Earl of Leicester, Roberto. Talbot arrives on behalf of Maria, her cousin and the Queen of Scotland, to seek for mercy after Maria once tried to take the English throne. To make matters worse, Roberto is in love with Maria. To test how much Roberto loves Maria, Elisabeta requests him to deliver a ring to the King of France to signify the acceptance of the marriage proposal. Roberto obeys the order, which only confirms his love towards Maria.

Roberto leaves and is approached by Talbot, who gives him a picture of Maria along with a letter requesting for a meeting with Elisabetta. Vowing to do anything for Maria, Roberto agrees to have a conversation with the Queen of England on the behalf of Maria. When he returns, Roberto talks with Elisabetta who agrees to meet with Maria despite some hesitation.

Act 2

Maria wanders through the park outside Fotheringay Castle accompanied by her nurse, Anna. She reminisces about her youthful days and the joys of her limited freedom after being imprisoned. Horns sound in the distance announcing the Queen's arrival. Maria gets anxious and reconsiders meeting Elisabetta, but before she can make her exit, Roberto enters and encourages her to stay.

The two queens meet. It becomes clear that they both have reservations and resentment towards each other. Elisabetta was encouraged prior to the meeting by her councilors to have Maria executed, but she turned the suggestion down. However, she is furious that Roberto is defending Maria with immense devotion. Maria tries to remain calm as Elisabetta throws multiple insults at her. Maria responds by calling Elisabetta an illegitimate child who has no right to the throne. Elisabetta gets angry and tells her to prepare for her death.

Act 3

Queen Elisabetta hesitates to sign Maria's death warrant. She fears for her reputation and public reaction. Her councilors on the other hand try to convince that Maria's death is for the good of the kingdom and her safety. She hesitates despite the pressure. However, jealousy drives her to sign the death warrant, an action she takes when Roberto comes in pleading for Maria.

Maria refuses to see a priest when she is brought to the gallows. However, realizing that the end of her days is at hand, she confesses her wrong doings to Talbot. Before she is executed, she prays for Roberto, Elisabetta, and England.


Maria Stuarda, Queen of Scotland, Soprano
Anna, Maria's companion, Mezzo-soprano
Roberto, Earl of Leicester, Tenor
Elissabetta, Queen of England, Soprano
Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury,Bass

© Teatro di San Carlo

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