Beatrice di Tenda’s marriage to Filippo, the Duke of Milan, has lost any of the romance it might once have had. Being 20 years her junior, the young Duke has grown bored of Beatrice, and has his eyes on Agnese, one of Beatrice’s ladies-in-waiting. He plans to start a secret affair with Agnese, but his plan is thwarted when he finds out that she is in love with Orombello, a young nobleman from Ventimiglia. Knowing that his wife is fond of Orombello as well, Filippo uses Orombello and Beatrice’s friendship to remove him from the picture. He accuses them both of having an illicit affair and conspiring against him. They are imprisoned and tortured, until eventually Beatrice is beheaded.
Bellini’s opera retells the tragic story of the real-life Beatrice di Tenda, and her final days before her execution. As one of the gems of bel canto writing, this piece enjoyed great popularity during the revival led by singers such as Dame Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, and Marylin Horne, and balances exquisitely beautiful melodies and intensely challenging vocal lines to retell this devastating tragedy.
Beatrice di Tenda guide sections