Luisa Miller by Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi has given the world some of the most incredibly haunting and beautiful operas of all time. Between 1839 and 1893, he wrote some 26 operas (not including rewrites and new versions). Italy claimed his as their national composer in the 19th century and it is said that no one could depict evil so openly and terrifying as Verdi.

Luisa Milleris a melodrama tragic in three acts. The libretto was based on Friedrich von Schiller’s tragedy, Kabale and Liebe (Cabel and Love). It premiered on the 8th December 1849 in Naples. It is set in the Tyrol in the early 17th century.

Characters:

Count Walteer (Bass)

Rodolfo, the son of Count Walter (Tenor)

Federica, Duchess of Ostheim and the niece of Count Walter (Contralto)

Wurm, the count’s steward (Bass)

Miller, a retired soldier (Baritone)

Luisa, Miller’s daughter (Soprano)

Laura, a peasant girl (Mezzo-soprano)

A Peasant (Tenor)

Federica’s ladies-in-waiting, pages, servants, archers and villagers (the chorus)

Synopsis:

Act I –

Scene 1: In a pretty village, Luisa is celebrating her birthday. She is surrounded by her friends, including Rodolfo, who has fallen in love with her. The castle steward is one of Luisa’s suitors for her hand but she does not feel the same way for him. To stop Rodolfo’s chances, Wurm tells Luisa’s father Rodolfo’s real identity as the son of Count Walter.

Scene 2: In Walter’s castle, Wurm has told him about his son’s feelings for Luisa. The count orders his son’s marriage to Federica, the Duchess of Ostheim. Federica and Rodolfo have been childhood friends and he confides his feelings about Luisa to her but this only makes her jealous.

Scene 3: Miller tells his daughter Rodolfo’s true identity and his upcoming marriage. Rodolfo assures Luisa of his love for her and begs Miller to let them marry. The count, spying on his son, declares he will have them both arrested. Rodolfo then threatens to reveal how the count came to his position.

Act II –

Scene 1: Walter has arrested Miller and thrown him prison. Wurm claims he can free Miller but on one condition; Luisa must write a letter stating she loves him and not Rodolfo. Luisa, unhappily, agrees.

Scene 2: In Walter’s castle, the count is worried about his son’s threats. With the assistance of Wurm he had committed murder in order to become count. He believes if Rodolfo gives up Luisa, then his secret can be safe. He orders that Luisa declare to Federica that she loves Wurm.

Scene 3: In the castle gardens, Wurm shows Rodolfo the love letter from Luisa. Rodolfo, in despair, challenged Wurm to a duel. Pretending to be concerned about his son, he tells him he can marry Luisa, but then when Rodolfo tells his father about the letter, he advises he marry the Duchess instead as revenge.

Act III –

Luisa wants to write a letter to Rodolfo to confess that Wurm had blackmailed her into doing it. Luisa and her father decide to leave the village. Luisa says farewell and is unaware when Rodolfo makes his way into the room and pours poison into a cup from which they both drink. As she lies dying, Luisa tells him the truth and both die together. With the last of his strength, Rodolfo stabs Wurm while the fathers mourn the deaths of their children.

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