Donizetti : Maria Padilla1990 (Audio)
Director: John de Main
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Maria Padilla is a melodramma, or opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti.
Gaetano Rossi and the composer wrote the Italian libretto after François Ancelot's play.
It premiered on December 26, 1841 at La Scala, Milan.
The plot is loosely based on the historical figure María de Padilla, the mistress of Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile.
Time: 14th century
Maria tells her sister Ines that she hopes to marry Don Pedro, the ruler of Castile. When he sneaks into her room disguised as Mendez, Maria tells him that she knows his true identity and demands marriage to save her honour. Don Pedro acquiesces, although the marriage must be kept secret. After their elopement, a faction of the Don Pedro's court wants him marry Bianca, a Bourbon princess, in order to avoid a civil war. He appears to be negotiating this, despite his secret marriage to Maria.
Meanwhile, Maria's father, Don Ruiz di Padilla, appears at the court. Believing that she is merely Don Pedro's mistress, he challenges the prince to a duel, but is led away in disgrace. Maria visits her father and tries to explain that she is the secret wife of Don Pedro, but her father refuses to listen.
Much to Maria's horror, Bianca arrives at the court, and is welcomed by Maria's enemies there as Don Pedro's bride and their queen. Instead, Don Pedro proclaims Maria as his queen and she dies of joy. (In the original ending which was changed by the censors, Maria grabbed the crown from Bianca's head and then committed suicide.)