Monsignore del Dongo
Monsignore del Dongo
Opera in four acts
libretto is written by
based on the novel The
charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
plot of the opera
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 Moscas 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
Scene 1. A room in Sanseverinas
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 Pallas
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
A room in Sanseverinas 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
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
ballrooms 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.
Scene 1. A
room in Sanseverinas 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 Counts 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