Lucrezia Borgia synopsis
The Palazzo Grimani,
A party is in full swing and Gennaro and his companions are enjoying themselves. The conversation turns to Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, and his infamous wife, Lucrezia Borgia. Orsini recounts how Gennaro saved his life in battle. They swore eternal friendship, but had no sooner done so when a man appeared prophesying that the two friends would die together and that they must avoid Lucrezia Borgia.
Bored and tired, Gennaro leaves his friends and falls asleep on the terrace, where he is discovered by Lucrezia Borgia. Wearing a mask to protect her true identity, she has followed Gennaro to
Gennaro’s comrades return and immediately recognize Lucrezia, who has been responsible for murdering members of each of their families. Gennaro is horrified.
Scene 1 A piazza in
Alfonso wrongly believes Gennaro and Lucrezia to be lovers and plots Gennaro’s murder.
Gennaro and his entourage have come to
Gubetta (sent by Lucrezia) and Rustighello (sent by Alfonso) are both looking for Gennaro. Rustighello and his men seize Gennaro.
A room in the ducal palace
Alfonso orders Rustighello to fetch two decanters of wine, one of silver and the other – containing poisoned wine – of gold.
Lucrezia enters. Having seen her defaced image, she demands revenge on the perpetrator. Gennaro is brought before them and accused of insulting the Borgias, a charge to which he confesses. When she discovers that it is Gennaro who is responsible, Lucrezia attempts to back-track from her previous position and makes excuses for him. Alfonso accuses her of infidelity with Gennaro, which she vehemently denies. She threatens Alfonso, reminding him of the fate that met each of her previous husbands. But Alfonso remains adamant, and forces her to choose the manner of Gennaro’s execution.
Alfonso pretends to Gennaro that he has yielded to Lucrezia’s pleas to release him. Gennaro is surprised by the duke’s clemency and reveals that he once saved the life of Alfonso’s father in battle, news of which prompts Alfonso to feign gratitude. The duke offers him a glass of wine, and forces Lucrezia to pour the drink from the poisoned decanter.
As soon as Alfonso leaves, Lucrezia administers an antidote to the poison and begs Gennaro to leave
Interval of 20 minutes
Scene 1 A courtyard leading to Gennaro’s lodgings
Gennaro admits to himself that he loves Lucrezia.
Rustighello and his men come to arrest Gennaro. They overhear Orsini persuading Gennaro to remain in
The Princess Negroni’s banquet
Gubetta, who is loyal to Lucrezia, mocks Orsini and a fight breaks out. Liverotto puts a stop to it, and Gubetta invites everyone to drink a toast to friendship. Orsini leads a drinking song which is interrupted by mysterious voices chanting the service for the dead.
Lucrezia enters and announces that in revenge for their insults in
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