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An historic world premiere: Random Opera presents Bottini's Elena e Gerardo

Saturday October 28, 2023 at 17:00
Temple Speech Room, Rugby
£35 General Admission; £25 Under-25
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Elena e Gerardo - Marianna Bottini

With its echoes of Romeo and Juliet, Marianna Bottini’s Elena e Gerardo is an epic romance, brimming with dramatic intrigue, virtuosic music, and of course, a pair of star-crossed lovers. When family honour meets secret love, which will triumph? And who will be left for dead?

Random Opera Company are delighted to present the historic world premiere of the 1822 opera Elena e Gerardo by Marianna Bottini. The performance will feature an outstanding cast of young artists, led by guest conductor Thomas Payne, and accompanied by chamber orchestra.

Marianna Bottini was a celebrated composer from a young age, becoming an "Honorary Master Composer" at the age of 18. She was a contemporary of Rossini, and this work - her only opera - is a baroque bel canto opera in a similar vein. Bottini composed this opera at the age of 20, but after her marriage in 1823 the work lay untouched for two centuries. Random Opera Company has worked with experts to prepare the score for this world premiere performance.

In Venice, discontentment ripples through the household of nobleman Pietro Candiano. Desperate to assuage the deep depression into which his daughter Elena has fallen, he finally alights upon a possible answer: surely, he concludes, Elena has fallen in love. The only other man she ever meets is his loyal friend, Vittorio, who is overjoyed when Pietro offers him his daughter’s hand in marriage: he is himself fervently in love with Elena.

The matter is presented to Elena as a fait accompli by her father: he has seen the secret of her heart and intends to join her immediately in marriage to the man she loves. Elena readily consents, and her father rejoices, but a fatal misunderstanding soon threatens their happiness: the man Elena loves, and believes her father has in mind, is the absent Gerardo, whom she married in secret a year ago, before his departure on a diplomatic mission to Syria.

As Gerardo returns, and the wedding approaches, these tangled affections tighten into a noose. When Elena is finally forced to confess her secret, her sense of shame – and the anger of her father, who vows to disown her – are overwhelming, and she collapses. She has not named her husband; Gerardo watches, powerless, as her lifeless body is carried away and later, as her funeral procession passes.

Yet when a grief-stricken Gerardo visits his wife’s tomb, he discovers Elena weak, but alive, and their hopes for happiness are revived: until they go to meet Pietro with the news. Can his rage at his daughter’s deception be soothed by his joy at her return? Or must Elena now choose, for once and for all, between filial duty and her husband’s love?

Temple Speech Room
Barby Road

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