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Monsignore del Dongo
Monsignore del Dongo

 

 

 

Monsignore del Dongo

Opera in four acts

 

The libretto is written by
Magda Győri
based on the novel ”The charterhouse of Parma” by Stendhal

 

 

 

The plot of the opera

 

Act I.

Scene 1. The palazzo of Duchess Sanseverina in Parma. The Duchess of Sanseverina entertains the nobility of Parma at a ball. The liberals are making fun at the expense of IV. Ernesto Ranuccio, Duke of Parma. Count Mosca, chief minister of Parma and lover of the Duchess officiates as host of the ball. His followers admire him. In the swirl of the ball Mosca proposes to Gina, the Duchess, but receives only a vague promise. General Fabio Conti, the new commandant of the dungeons and his daughter Clelia are also at the ball, and the wealthy Marchese Crescenzi proposes to Conti for the hand of his daughter. The arrival of the Duchess’ cousin, Monsignore Fabrizio del Dongo causes some disturbance among the guests. The handsome and agreeable young man has a strong romantic bond with Gina, which stirs up Count Mosca’s jealousy. Clelia and the young girls are all interested in Fabrizio, and he is also charmed by the beauty of Clelia. Conti notices the attraction between them, and leaves the ball with his daughter in hope of a more prosperous son-in-law.

Actors come to entertain the guests, they perform a play titled ”Arlecchino and the Goddess of Love”. Giletti, the ham actor – lover of Marietta – plays the role of Arlecchino, Marietta plays the Goddess of Love. The old Mammaccia assists their performance. Under the pretence of the play, Marietta starts flirting with Fabrizio, outraging the jealous Giletti. The ball is ruined.

 

Scene 2. Roadside, near Parma, at the edge of the woods. Fabrizio and his childhood mentor, abbé Blanes say goodbye to each other. The young man speaks about the trials and tribulations of his life, and the old abbé warns him about the tragic fate he had read from the stars. Left alone, Fabrizio is haunted by his demons. Marietta and Mammaccia appear on the scene, fleeing from the Giletti and his green-eyed monster. Marietta has fallen in love with Fabrizio, so Mosca wants her taken away from Parma - to protect the good will of the Monsignore and favor Gina at the same time.

Fabrizio meets Marietta and Mammaccia at the same time when Giletti reaches them. The ham reaches for his dagger, but Fabrizio kills him in the fight.

 

Act II.

Scene 1. A room in Sanseverina’s palazzo in Sacca. The Duchess is accusing Mosca furiously for not being able to free the imprisoned Fabrizio. The Count suggests her to ask Ferrante Palla instead – a rebellious poet, medic and highwayman in one person. Gina abuses Palla’s devotion for her, and asks him to free Fabrizio, at any price – to spark revolution, if he must. Ferrante Palla accepts the mission.

 

Scene 2. Courtyard of the dungeons. Fabrizio has found love in his imprisonment, and is now daydreaming about happiness in his cell. Clelia, the daughter of the prison guards’ captain, loves him, and they are dreaming about a common future. General Conti arrives, to hasten the marriage of Clelia to Marchese Crescenzi. The argument between father and daughter is interrupted by the roar of the oncoming crowd, led to upheaval by Ferrante Palla . While the soldiers try to keep the insurgents at bay, Fabrizio manages to escape with the help of Clelia and Palla.

 

Act III.

A room in Sanseverina’s palazzo in Parma. Fabrizio enters unexpectedly as Gina is preparing for a ball. Their mutual accusations reveal that Duchess is harboring the fugitive Monsignore in her palazzo. Their dispute quickly turns into a fierce quarrel when Fabrizio hears that Clelia has married Marchese Crescenzi. Fabrizio blames Gina for all that had happened. Gina had enough of the allegations of the disrespectful youth, and in her anger she gives her consent to his plan: he is allowed to say farewell to Clelia at the ball. When she is left alone, she cannot conceal the anguish of her broken heart.

 

Later. /same scene/ Sanseverina joins the ladies at the ball. Fabrizio is already in the room, as Clelia enters with her husband, Crescenzi. Count Mosca calls the Marchese away, so Clelia steps up to Fabrizio, followed by inquisitive glances from the others. An actress starts her song on the ballroom’s stage, and the spark between Clelia and Fabrizio kindles again. Their reunion is cut short by the soldiers breaking into the room, arresting Fabrizio upon the orders of the new duke, V. Ernesto Ranuccio. As the ball turns into a disaster again, V. Ernesto Ranuccio appears in person. He has been under the spell of the beautiful Duchess since many years, and offers Gina the life of Fabrizio in exchange for a night spent with her. The Duchess of Sanseverina accepts the trade and sacrifices herself for the safety of Fabrizio – she leaves with the Duke.

 

Act IV.

Scene 1. A room in Sanseverina’s palazzo in Sacca. Three months later. Gina receives a letter from Fabrizio, in which he expresses his gratitude for her love, assuring her of his tender feelings in return. The letter also tells how he had found bliss with Clelia in a secret marriage, and wishes the same joy to the Duchess and the Count. Mosca enters, and Sanseverina takes an unexpected step to free herself from the web of her confused emotions: as reply to a request told a hundred times, she now says yes to the Count’s proposal.

 

Scene 2. Cathedral of San Giovanni, Parma. Fabrizio is lecturing the people from the pulpit. Altarboys are standing next to the minister celebrating the mass. Suddenly, Clelia stumbles into the cathedral, feeble and pale. She falls into the arms of Fabrizio running to her help. Clelia had miscarried their child, and she is dying, not even the power of love can keep her alive. Fabrizio says farewell to his beloved wife, and dies in his sorrow for his true love.

 

© „Ars et Sanitas”

 

 

 

 


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