Maria Stuarda
Gaetano Donizetti

opera in three acts
composer: Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
libretto:  Guiseppe Bardari, after Friedrich Schiller
first performance: Milan, 1835

company:Koniklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag
conductor: Peter Nilsson
director: Gijs de Lange
set- and costume design: Fer Smidt
premiere: Kees van Baarenzaal, Den Haag, 12th December 1995

maria6.jpg (160895 bytes)

Parts of 'Der Wildschutz" and " Maria Stuarda" were performed as a double-bill. Both opera's were performed after each other. Both were totally different, but are placed in the early-romantic period. The motto, as the director Gijs de Lange said, to combine these two totally different pieces, was: 'Pre-romantic Post-modernism' or 'The fashion of the fashion'. As the designer I chose for a stage-setting where the singers were able to walk into the audience. The stage floor was covered with rough cotton, that could be seen as sand or a carpet. In the background photo's were projected of real flowers or flowers from tapestries. The costumes were designed in sparkling colors, a parody of fashion today, with a wink to historical influences.

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"second act"
maria2.jpg (123270 bytes)
"first act"
maria1.jpg (142081 bytes)
"first act"
maria3.jpg (31940 bytes)
"second act"

Plot: Mary Stewart, previously Queen of Scotland, imprisoned on the instructions of Oueen Elisabeth, is suspected of plotting to take over the Enlish throne. Elisabeth is adviced by Cecil in the interest of security to execute Mary; both Talbot and Leicester increde with her on Mary's behalf. 
Elisabeth is jealous of Leicester's obvious romantic involvement with the prisoner, but agrees to meet her while out hunting. Face to face, the two Queens find no common ground; Elisabeth insults Mary, who abandons her submissive attitude and hurls abuse in return. After this Elisabeth condemns her to death, despite Leicester's exhortations. Mary receives absolution for her rather spotty past from Talbot, and goes to the block with dignity.

maria5.jpg (89605 bytes)  "background projection"