It’s your typical royalty story: two reigning monarchs, both vying for the same throne, use all the power at their disposal to get (or keep) the crown they believe is their due.
That this is a story is not surprising; that this is a historical one isn’t either; what may be surprising is that this story is about two women in power in 16th century England.
The Royal McPherson Theatre in Victoria is currently presenting Maria Stuarda, a Donizetti opera featuring two of the most powerful women in history. The story is a long and complex one, as they all are; in short, Elizabeth kept Mary Stuart in captivity for almost 19 years before she finally had her executed for her involvment in a plot to assassinate her. Mary had been holding her claim to the throne since Elizabeth’s accession; too dangerous to let loose but to highly ranked to kill, Elizabeth had to keep her alive but stripped of her power.
In reality, the two women never met. Donizetti took rather large liberties with history and pitted them against each other in what is described as the best catfight in the history of opera.
I went to my first opera last year in Edmonton, thanks to a colleague who had worked for the Edmonton opera for years and had access to cheap tickets for the dress rehearsal. I saw Trouble in the Seraglio and Tosca. When I heard about this opera on the radio, I thought “nice! I should go see that”.
It sounds like it’s going to be a great show, with world-class singers and direction. I will definitely write a review after I see the show next Wednesday.
In the meantime, here’s the relevant info:
What: Maria Stuarda
Where: Royal McPherson Theatre, Victoria
When: April 14, 18 and 22nd
More info: Pacific Opera Victoria