Who is Luisa Miller? A woman in love, a woman in anguish — trapped by a man she does not love and a father who loves her too much. And to play her, a woman finding international stardom: Australian soprano Nicole Car, making another role debut after her successes in Europe.
This early piece by Verdi gives us a heroine every bit as fragile as Gilda or Violetta, a lover as jealous and nuanced as Alfredo, and a worried father who ultimately destroys his only love. The music is sumptuous and intimate, the story at once domestic and political, and the characters compelling in their humanity.
This glamorous new production comes from Opéra de Lausanne. Director Giancarlo del Monaco and designer William Orlandi have created a stylish, glossy world for the three acts of this opera, aptly titled Love, Intrigue and Poison.
|Director||Giancarlo del Monaco|
|Revival Director||Barbara Staffolani|
|Set & Costume Designer||William Orlandi|
|Original Lighting Design||Vinicio Cheli|
|Lighting Design realised by||Jacopo Pantani|
Running time: approximately 2 hours & 50 minutes, including one 20 minute interval.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles.
A co-production with Opéra de Lausanne
Luisa Miller is in love with a stranger, and like all fathers, Miller is worried about this suitor. His suspicions are correct — the man calls himself Carlo, but is really Rodolfo, son of the powerful Count.
The double-crossing Wurm knows his true identity, and reveals it to Miller, craftily trying to win Luisa for himself. He also tells the Count that his son Rodolfo is in love with Luisa.
The Count is furious — he has higher plans for his only son's marriage. He arrests Miller, and tries to arrest Luisa too, before Rodolfo intervenes.
Wurm tells Luisa the only way to save her father from the Count is to write a letter, claiming she never loved Rodolfo and pledging herself to Wurm. Distraught, Luisa agrees, and Wurm's poisonous plan is set in motion.
Rodolfo reads the letter and despairs, agreeing to marry another. Trapped and alone, with her lover's wedding bells echoing in the distance, Luisa makes a desperate choice.
Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.
Luisa, daughter of a widowed soldier, is in love with a young man she knows as Carlo but who is actually Rodolfo, son of the local lord, Count Walter. The two lovers proclaim undying fidelity, but Miller, Luisa’s father, is dubious, and his fears are confirmed when Walter’s retainer, Wurm, who also loves Luisa and hopes to marry her, reveals Rodolfo’s true identity.
In Walter’s palace, Wurm tells his master of Rodolfo’s love for Luisa. Walter resolves to end their relationship, because he hopes to have his son marry a widowed duchess, Federica. He insists the wedding planned for him with Federica go ahead. Left alone with her, Rodolfo reveals that he loves another, but the duchess, a friend since childhood, loves him too much to react with anything but indignation.
At home, Miller tells Luisa that Rodolfo has deceived her and is about to contract a wealthy marriage. Rodolfo enters and swears that he will keep faith with her. Walter appears. An argument erupts and Walter consigns both Miller and Luisa to prison. Rodolfo secures their freedom by threatening to reveal how his father, with Wurm’s assistance, murdered his cousin to gain his present position.
Luisa learns that her father has been gaoled for insulting Walter. Wurm tells her the only way she can save Miller is to write a letter admitting she sought Rodolfo for his wealth, and pledging herself to Wurm. After doing his bidding, she learns she must go to the palace and declare her love for him.
Wurm presents Luisa’s letter to Walter, and the two plot to send it to Rodolfo. Wurm then brings in Luisa to confirm there are no longer any ties between herself and Rodolfo. Goaded on with threats by Wurm and Walter against her father, she professes her love for Wurm to Federica.
Rodolfo receives Luisa’s letter and in despair challenges Wurm to a duel, but by discharging his pistol into the air he brings Walter and attendants rushing to the scene. Walter appears and persuades him that marrying Federica will be the best way for him to avenge Luisa’s treachery.
After his release from prison, Miller comes home and comforts Luisa as Rodolfo’s wedding celebration can be heard in the distance. He learns of the letter she has written to Rodolfo asking him to visit her grave. Miller convinces her not to take her own life, and instead, live with him far away. Rodolfo enters with a cup of poisoned water. He asks Luisa if the letter to Wurm was true. Hesitantly, she replies it was. Rodolfo drinks the poison and tells her that they are both condemned to die. He then hands the cup to her and she drinks. He asks her again if her love for Wurm is true. This time, he warns her to tell the truth, because the water they drank was poisoned and they do not have much time left.
Luisa tells him that he has murdered an innocent girl and reveals what Wurm made her do in order to spare the life of her father. Rodolfo is overcome with guilt and remorse. Miller returns and finds the two lovers weeping. They tell him that they don’t have much time to live. Rodolfo begs for forgiveness as Luisa dies. Count Walter, Wurm, and the community arrive to escort Rodolfo to the wedding ceremony. Instead they witness Rodolfo, in the moments before death, gather all his strength to curse Wurm and his evil deeds.