"Opera and cycling in Wiesbaden" Top 5 Page for this destination Wiesbaden by Nemorino
Wiesbaden Travel Guide: 238 reviews and 442 photos
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, was executed in 1587 at Castle Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire on orders of her cousin, Queen Elisabeth the First of England.
In real life the two queens never met. But they do meet sometimes on the opera stage, in the second act of the opera Maria Stuarda, by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848).
And what do the two queens talk about when they meet on the opera stage?
Well of course they speak or rather sing in Italian, and before long Mary (Maria) loses patience and calls Elisabeth (Elisabetta) a "vil bastarda" -- which is a highly undiplomatic thing to say and destroys whatever slight chance she might have had of surviving the encounter.
They sing this royal spat to the loveliest music you can imagine, and it gets even lovelier in the third act as Maria prepares to meet her fate. Donizetti always does that -- no matter what nasty names his characters call each other, the music is hauntingly beautiful.
This opera is based loosely on the classic German play Maria Stuart (which I saw recently at the Castle Festival in Bad Vilbel, a Frankfurt suburb) by the dramatist, poet and historian Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805).
You can see Schiller's statue here in Wiesbaden if you go around to the back of the theater. The statue was first set up here in 1905, on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of Schiller's death.
Another Schiller-based opera that I have seen twice here in Wiesbaden was the five-act Italian version of Don Carlos, by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).
Schiller's drama and Verdi's opera are set in Spain in the year 1560. Don Carlos is the son of King Philipp II, who is married to a young French princess, Elisabeth of Valois. Originally Elisabeth was supposed to marry Don Carlos, who was about her age, but then for reasons of state she had to marry his father the king. In the play and the opera (but not in real life) Elisabeth and Carlos knew and loved each other. Carlos has a friend, the idealistic and freedom-loving Marquis of Posa, who sacrifices himself in a vain attempt to save his friend.
Over the years Verdi wrote seven different versions of this powerful opera, some in French and some in Italian. I have seen the five-act French version in Strasbourg and a five-act Italian version in Frankfurt am Main, also a four-act Italian version in Braunschweig, Dresden and Geneva, as well as a German translation in Dessau.
Wiesbaden is the capital of Hessen, by the way. It's a pleasant town on the Rhine River, just a short ways down from where the Main River empties into the Rhine at Mainspitze.
Here are two prominent landmarks of downtown Wiesbaden: --The "new" City Hall (Neues Rathaus), which was built from... more travel advice
The foyer is the part of the theater building that has the most elaborate ornamentation. On the left side of the second... more travel advice
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