Maria de Rudenz

Maria de Rudenz

Maria de Rudenz is a dramma tragico, or tragic opera, in three parts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on "a piece of Gothic horror"[1], La nonne sanglante by Anicet-Bourgeois, Cuvelier and Maillan, and The monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis. It premiered at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice on 30 January 1838.


Performance history

While the initial performances were not very successful (Donizetti regarded them as "a fiasco"[2],the opera was withdrawn after two performances[1]. It was given 14 performances in Rome in 1841 but, again, it was received with little enthusiasm[2]. Finally, an "excellent production and superior singing this time won vigorous approval"[2] in a production in Rome in 1841, and this was followed by one in Naples in 1848.

Today, the opera is very rarely staged. It did not receive productions in the UK until the Opera Rara concert staging in London 27 October 1974[3] and the first staged presentations in the 20th century took place at La Fenice beginning on 21 December 1980 with Katia Ricciarelli in the title role.[1] Both have been recorded.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 30 January 1838
(Conductor: — )
Maria de Rudenz soprano Carolina Ungher
Matilde di Wolf, her cousin soprano Isabella Casali
Corrado Waldorf baritone Giorgio Ronconi
Enrico, his brother tenor Napoleone Moriani
Rambaldo, old relative of the Rudenz house bass Domenico Raffaeli
The Chancellor of Rudenz tenor Alessandro Giacchini
Knights, squires, and vassals of the Rudenz house


Place: Switzerland
Time: 1400[1]

Maria de Rudenz falls in love with Corrado against her father's wish and flees with him to Venice. Being there, Corrado suspects that Maria is unfaithful to him, abandons her, returns to the Rudnez Castle area and falls in love with Maria's cousin Mathilde.

Maria manages to return to her ancestors Castle, discovers that her lover is not only going to marry her cousin, but that in fact he is not who he is but the son of a murderer. She is ready to keep this secret safe and sound with her if only Corrado returned back to her but he refuses and in a rage injures her with his sword so that everyone thinks that she is dead.

On Mathilde and Corrado's wedding day Maria appears again, discovers his secret to everybody, murders Mathilde and commits a suicide.


  • 1974: Conductor Alun Francis, Orchestra - Philomusica of London and the Opera Rara Chorus

Maria de Rudenz - Ludmilla (Milla) Andrew; Matilde di Wolf - Merril Jenkins; Corrado Waldorf - Christian Du Plessis; Enrico - Richard Greager; Rambaldo - Malcolm King; Il Cancelliere - Riccardo Calleo.

Audio CD: Memories, Cat: HR 4588-4589 (Recording of a concert performance in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 27 October)

  • 1981: Conductor Eliahu Inbal, Orchestra and Chorus: Teatro La Fenice di Venezia

Maria de Rudenz - Katia Ricciarelli; Matilde di Wolf - Silvia Baleani; Corrado Waldorf - Leo Nucci Enrico - Alberto Cupido; Rambaldo - Giorgio Surjan; Il Cancelliere - Silvio Eupani.

Audio CD: Fonit Cetra «Italia» Cat: CDC 91; Mondo Musica Cat: MFOH 10708; Living Stage Cat: LS 35140 (Recorded at the La Fenice, Venice, January)

  • 1997 — Maria de RudenzNelly Miricioiu, Robert McFarland, Bruce Ford, Matthew Hargreaves, Regina Nathan — Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, David Parry.

Audio CD: Opera Rara Cat: ORC16 [4]


  1. ^ a b c d Osborne, pp. 262-263
  2. ^ a b c Weinstock, p. 354-355
  3. ^ Holden, p. 239
  4. ^ Recordings of Maria de Rudenz on
  • Ashbrook, William, Donizetti and His Operas, Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 052123526X ISBN 0-521-23526-X
  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-140-29312-4
  • Osborne, Charles, The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1994 ISBN 0931340713
  • Weinstock, Herbert, ‘’Donizetti and the World of Opera in Italy, Paris, and

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