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Alberto Ginastera - Don Rodrigo (1964)

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Alberto Ginastera - Don Rodrigo (1964)

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1. Act I
2. Act II
3. Act III

Sofia Bandin
Carlos Cossutta
Angel Mattiello
Victor De Narke
Adriana Cantelli

Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires
Bruno Bartoletti – conductor


Don Rodrigo is an opera in three acts by Alberto Ginastera, the composer's first opera, to an original Spanish libretto by Alejandro Casona. Ginastera composed the opera on commission from the Municipality of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The first performance was at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina on 24 July 1964 with Carlo Cossutta in the title role. The production was directed by Jorge Petraglia and conducted by Bruno Bartoletti. --- todoperaweb.com.ar



The setting is Toledo, Spain in the 8th century. A note is that Don Rodrigo is also the Spanish name for Roderic, the last Visigothic king of Spain. The three acts of the opera are divided into nine scenes linked by interludes, with labeling of the scenes as follows:

Act I
    Scene 1: Victory
    Scene 2: Coronation
    Scene 3: Secret

Act II
    Scene 4: Love
    Scene 5: Outrage
    Scene 6: Message

    Scene 7: Dream
    Scene 8: Battle
    Scene 9: Miracle

The scenes mirror each other in a format resembling a dramatic palindrome, with Scene 1 mirrored in Scene 9, Scene 2 mirrored in Scene 8, and so on, with Scene 5 forming the dramatic climax and fulcrum of the story.

At the start, Don Rodrigo has avenged an attack on his father. He is then about to be crowned King of Spain. Don Julian, Governor of Ceuta in Africa, introduces the King to his daughter Florinda. Rodrigo promises Don Julian that he will look after her as a daughter if she is permitted to stay at the royal court. At the coronation of Rodrigo, Florinda drops the crown. Although some regard this accident as a baleful sign, Rodrigo then retrieves the crown and places it on his own head. Historically, a chest in the Vault of Hercules has contained a locked mystery, which every King of Spain has respected since ancient times. However, Rodrigo opens the locked chest, where he sees the secret in the form of an Arab flag and a curse. The curse states that he who has opened the chest will be the last of his dynasty and that the Arabs will enslave Spain.

Later, Florinda bathes in a fountain, which Rodrigo sees. He goes to Florinda’s bedroom at night, and forces himself on her. Rodrigo then abandons her. Florinda writes to her father, angrily calling for revenge on Rodrigo.

Don Julian raises a rebellion against Don Rodrigo. At the battle at Guadalete, Don Julian is victorious against Don Rodrigo, which allows the Moors to enter Spain, fulfilling that part of the curse. Rodrigo becomes a penniless vagrant, and eventually finds shelter with a blind hermit. Florinda eventually discovers Rodrigo there. Rodrigo confesses his sins, and finally dies in Florinda's embrace.

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Last Updated (Friday, 22 November 2013 10:50)


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