Is it possible to escape your destiny? Verdi’s opera La forza del destino asks that very question. When Leonora di Vargas’s father, the Marquis of Calatrava forces her to leave the man she loves and stay in the country, she makes a plan to escape this unfair imprisonment. But, the night her beloved Don Alvaro arrives to carry out the plan, her father hears them and tries to stop them. In a fatal accident, Alvaro puts down his weapon and it fires, shooting and killing the Marquis. Alvaro and Leonora flee into the night.
Leonora’s brother, Don Carlo, hunts them. He is certain they are responsible for murdering his father, and he wants vengeance for the crime. In several surprising coincidental meetings, and through many disguises and mistaken identities, Carlo and Alvaro actually end up saving each other’s lives, unaware that they have been aiding their sworn enemies. Through a strange twist of fate, Alvaro and Leonora both seek refuge in the same monastery at separate times, and live there unaware of each others’ presence until Carlo finally tracks Alvaro down. Their fierce fight takes them to Leonora’s door, and she runs to aid her dying brother. In his final moments he cannot forgive her crime and stabs her as she tries to care for him.
La forza del destino is a fine example of grand opera, with all of the Verdian tropes; gypsies, soldiers, royalty, monks, rousing choruses, and of course, excellent music.