Rosmonda d’Inghilterra

One thing the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo is noted for is unarthing Donizetti rarities.  The 2016 edition was Rosmonda d’Inghilterra; a dramatically rather slight piece based on the story of Henry II’s mistress, generally known as “The Fair Rosamund”.  In the opera version Rosmonda is locked up in a tower by her lover Edegardo who has promised to marry her except he’s really Henry II (Enrico) and Leonora (Eleanor of Aquitaine) is going to have something to say about that. Complicating matters; Enrico’s page Arturo is in love with Rosmonda and her dad, Clifford, is the king’s principal counsellor and not at all happy about his daughter carrying on with a married man.   Clifford’s plan to save the family’s honour is to have Arturo take Rosmonda off to Aquitaine and marry her.  Rosmonda’s is to retire to a convent (as, apparently, the historical Rosamund did) . Enrico’s is to divorce Leonora (given Enrico’s problems with the church this seems highly implausible but, hey, bel canto) and make Rosmonda his queen.  Leonora isn’t having any of this and shows up at the tower and kills Rosmonda.  Finito.  Along the way there’s lots of very workmanlike Donizetti music which sounds pretty much like most Donizetti operas.

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