I masnadieri

Opera in four acts on a libretto by Andrea Maffei, from the tragedy Die Raüber by Friedrich Schiller.
Première: London, Her Majesty's Theatre, July 22nd, 1847.


The story:
In Germany at the beginning of the 18th century. Carlo, son of the regent of Moor, receives a letter he thinks sent by his father (but in reality written by his treacherous brother Francesco) in which he is told he has been repudiated and disinherited for having abandoned the paternal dwelling. To obtain justice, Carlo puts himself at the head of a band of Masnadieri (robbers). Francesco falsely announces the death of Carlo to his father and to Carlo's fiancée, Amalia, whom he is trying to win for himself.
Carlo discovers the betrayal, but does not have the strength to punish Francesco. Then he finds his father in a dark prison cell, and finally decided that the guilty brother must be punished; no pardon is possible. Francesco, hunted, hangs himself. The regent and Amalia also die tragically. Carlo, hopeless and alone, gives himself up to the guards.

Shortly after the première in Florence of Macbeth, another theatre, this time a foreign one, asked Verdi to compose an opera. At the invitation of Mister Lumley of Her Majesty's Theatre, Verdi went to London in May, 1847. On the way he went through Switzerland and visited William Tell's house, and saw something of Germany, Brussels and Paris. Once in London, he had little desire for social life and receptions, managing even to avoid an audience with Queen Victoria. The libretto of  Andrea Maffei, from a play in German by Friedrich Schiller, was ready, and I Masnadieri premièred on July 22nd. It was enthusiastically received by the public, also because of its first-class cast: Jenny Lind was Amalia (soprano), Filippo Coletti was Francesco (baritone), the old Neapolitan baritone Luigi Lablanche sang the role of Massimiliano Moor and the tenor from Parma Italo Gardoni was the protagonist.

  • Libretto: I Masnadieri, Mantova, Teatro Sociale, 1850-51
  • (Parma, Istituto nazionale di studi verdiani, coll. LibV 017 010)
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