Verdi: Overture to La Forza del Destino

La Forza del Destino was an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by Francesco Piave based upon a Spanish play, Don Alvaro. The first performance was given in the Bolshoi Khamenny Theatre in Moscow on November 10, 1862. It was presented in Rome the following year but it did not reach its final form until 1869 when it was staged in Milan. It was the twenty-fifth opera written by iuts composer. In the action of the opera, Don Alvaro accidentally kills the Marquis of Calatrava, the father of Don Carlo and Leonora, the woman Alvaro loves. Much of the opera is spent in Carlo’s search for Alvaro. Alvaro disguises himself and begins fighting for the Spanish army, along with Carlo. Alvaro is mortally wounded. Through a series of circumstances, Carlo figures out who Alvaro is and plans to kill him. Eventually the men fight a duel during which Carlo is killed. Alvaro stabs his beloved Leonora and finally throws himself from a cliff. Such is the stuff of Italian Romantic opera. "Forza" is an opera that many old school Italian singers felt was "cursed" and brought bad luck. For example, rumor has it that Franco Corelli was quite superstitious of the work, and the fact that American baritone Leonard Warren died during a 1960 production of the work did not help matters. Nevertheless the work continues to be performed and its dramatic overture is the perfect way of igniting the spark to the dramatic powder keg that follows. Back to Notes page!.

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