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What would have happened had Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots met face to face? A thrilling imagining of this showdown is at the heart of Maria Stuarda. Donizetti’s riveting opera transports you to a Britain at war with itself and overcome by uncertainty and strife.
Rudolf Frey’s production shines a light on the striking parallels between the two heroines: the imprisoned Mary and Queen Elizabeth; a woman shackled by the demands of office.
Supported by a lead gift from the Peter Moores Foundation's Swansong Project. Supported by WNO Friends and WNO Idloes Owen Society and WNO Bel Canto Syndicate.
For more information about our cast, see our Cast & Creative page.
The Court awaits the arrival of Queen Elizabeth, who is expected to announce her marriage to the Duke of Anjou. Elizabeth reveals that she is still undecided as whether to unite the thrones of England and France by this marriage but assures her Court that she will only act for the good of the people. Aside, she confesses her secret love for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Talbot and the courtiers then plead for mercy towards Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, imprisoned at Fotheringhay, but Elizabeth is unwilling to relent, a course in which she is encouraged by Sir William Cecil.
Leicester arrives and is ordered by Elizabeth to take her ring to the French envoy as a token of her provisional acceptance of the marriage proposal. Deeply hurt by his cool reaction to this news, the Queen departs. Talbot tells Leicester of a meeting with Mary and gives him a portrait of her, along with a letter begging for his help. Leicester vows to secure Mary’s freedom. When Elizabeth returns she demands to see the letter he is holding. Despite her anger at Mary’s aspirations to the English crown and her intense jealousy of Leicester’s affections, she reluctantly agrees to visit her.
Mary and her companion, Hannah, recollect their early life in France. Hearing the sounds of the Royal Hunt, Mary realizes that Elizabeth is in the vicinity. Leicester arrives and explains that the Hunt is only a pretext for Elizabeth to visit Mary and persuades her to be submissive if she hopes for mercy. As the two women meet for the first time, each feels instant hostility towards the other. Mary humbles herself but Elizabeth responds by accusing her of treachery, murder and debauchery. Mary, taunted beyond endurance, denounces Elizabeth as the bastard daughter of Anne Boleyn.
Cecil urges Elizabeth to sign the order for Mary’s execution, following her complicity in the Babington plot to assassinate the Queen, but Elizabeth is still undecided; she cannot bring herself to condemn an annointed monarch. Cecil eventually succeeds in persuading Elizabeth to sign the warrant. When Leicester learns that Mary has been condemned to death he makes a final plea for her life, upbraiding Elizabeth for her cruelty when she refuses to yield. He is then detailed by the Queen to witness Mary’s execution.
Mary is visited by Talbot and Cecil; the latter hands her the death sentence and leaves her alone with Talbot. He tells her of Elizabeth’s decision that Leicester is to witness her execution. Mary becomes distraught and imagines that she sees the ghosts of her former husband and lover, Darnley and Rizzio. Talbot urges her to place her trust in heaven and to prepare to face her death with resignation.
A waiting crowd watches the preparations for Mary’s execution. Mary bids them farewell and they join her in a final prayer for heavenly pardon. Mary forgives Elizabeth and prays for the welfare of England. She breaks down when Leicester arrives, protesting her innocence and asking him to support her as the hour of her death approaches. A final cannon shot is heard and Mary is led out to the scaffold.
WNO and The National Trust are working together in partnership to support the performances with a rich programme of events at Trust properties including Tredegar House, Plas Newydd and The Tudor Merchant’s House, Tenby. Visit wno.org.uk/nt for details of the events. Trust members are entitled to priority booking for these events through the properties until 1 May.
We have negotiated a special rate for those seeing more than one of The Tudors operas.
Cardiff Marriott Hotel
10% off rooms
Please find link below to Marriott hotels website to book online; rates will be subject to availability and discounted will be off any rate booked. For further information and to book please go to marriott.co.uk/default.mi. Rates are all subject to availability. Theatre ticket must be produced on check-in to qualify the rate to be changed. Discount of 10% will only be valid between 7 September – 6 October 2013.
Swansea Marriott Hotel
10% off rooms
Please find link below to Marriott hotels website to book online; rates will be subject to availability and discounted will be off any rate booked. For further information and to book please go to marriott.co.uk/default.mi. Rates are all subject to availability. Theatre ticket must be produced on check-in to qualify the rate to be changed. Discount of 10% will only be valid between 8 October – 12 October 2013.
Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel
10% off rooms
Please find link below to Marriott hotels website to book online; rates will be subject to availability and discounted will be off any rate booked. For further information and to book please go to marriott.co.uk/default.mi
Rates are all subject to availability. Theatre ticket must be produced on check-in to qualify the rate to be changed. Discount of 10% will only be valid between 5 November – 9 November 2013.
Birmingham Marriott Hotel
£100 per night
You can now book online using the corporate code 7WO or they can contact Marriott reservations department on 0121 452 1144 and quote the reservation code WKAW to receive this deal. Book a room for just £100 per night based on double occupancy to include accommodation and breakfast. Valid for stays between 12 November - 16 November 2013 inclusive.
Meon Valley, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club
£99 per night
Valid for stays between 23 November - 1 December 2013 inclusive. Meon Valley, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club would like to offer guests of the Welsh National Opera preferential accommodation rates to stay at our 4* hotel. Located amid the Hampshire countryside and in close proximity to Southampton city the hotel has great leisure and golf facilities to offer you the ultimate in relaxation. Book a Standard Deluxe bedroom for just £99.00 per night based on single or double occupancy to include accommodation, full English breakfast, car parking use of the hotels leisure facilities and VAT. Please note this offer is subject to availability and is not to be used in conjunction with any other offers or promotions. To book telephone 01329 833455 quoting code PROM. For further information on the hotel take a look at our website at marriottmeonvalley.co.uk
Why not stay in England’s only Tudor Castle hotel?
Thornbury Castle is situated in Thornbury, North Bristol and has hosted regal visits from Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Mary I.
During the WNO Tudor Trilogy the hotel will be offering an exclusive package that includes:
1 x Night in a stunning bedchamber
Pre Theatre Starter and Main Course before departing for the performance
Taxi transportation to Bristol Hippodrome
2 Tickets for one of The Tudor Trilogy shows 6 - 8 November
Return transportation back to Thornbury Castle where your desserts and coffee will be served
Nightcaps can be taken in the lounge if you desire before you retire to your luxurious bedchamber
The following morning a freshly prepared Regal breakfast will be available for you before you depart at your leisure
Prices start from:
£360.00 based on 2 people sharing a classic bedchamber, price is per room per night and includes Car Parking, Wi-Fi and VAT
For any guests booking this package before the 5th October will receive a complimentary room upgrade worth £100.00
To book call 01454 281182 or visit www.thornburycastle.co.uk
Llandudno Opera Holidays
Barbara Sandbach has organised Opera Holiday breaks to Venue Cymru, Llandudno. These breaks include:
All packages include accomodation in the hotel of your choice, dinner, room and breakfast. For more information, please visit llandudnooperaholidays.co.uk or contact Barbara on 01492 879 526.
Bodysgallen Hall are offering a package which includes accommodation, cooked breakfast, two-course lunch (Value £25 per person), full use of the health and fitness spa (swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath, relaxation area and Club Room) and VAT.
Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots go head-to-head.
"Donizetti is the king of ecstatic, exuberant music" repetiteur, Stephen Wood talks about the power of Donizetti.
As week three comes to an end, we talk to Maria Stuarda Director, Rudolf Frey.
Take a look at Madeleine Boyd's set designs for Maria Stuarda.