Opera in two acts
Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave
Based on a Spanish drama DON ÁLVARO O LA FUERZA DEL SINO by Ángel de Saavedra
World Premiere: Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 10 November 1862
First performance in Georgia: Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre (Summer theatre), season 1877-1878
Director, set and costume designer: Stefano Poda
Conductor Zaza Azmaiparashvili
Production of Teatro Regio di Parma
The Palace of the Marquis of Calatrava, in Seville
The daughter of the Marquis of Calatrava, Donna Leonora, is in love with Don Alvaro, who, despite his noble origins, is looked down on by Sevilleans, because of his South American, Inca, roots. At night, the couple silently intends to get married. Curra, Leonora's faithful maid, is assisting them.
But, at the crucial moment, the Marquis's daughter finds it difficult to leave her father and asks Alvaro to allow her to spend another day with him. Filled with suspicion, Alvaro frees Leonora from her vows because he believes that a woman does not love him as strongly as he loves her. To prove the opposite, Leonora finally decides to elope with him, but the Marquis confronts the couple and, convinced of Alvaro's worst intentions, draws his weapon and challenges him. To prove his noble intentions, Alvaro refuses to fight, and when he flings down the pistol as a sign of surrender, it goes off accidentally and fatally wounds the Marquis. The dying father delivers a terrible curse onto his daughter. The shocked couple immediately leaves the place.
An inn at Hornachuelos
One year has passed since the death of the Marquis of Calatrava. Alvaro and Leonora lost each other during their escape and they have not been able to find each other since.
The inn at Hornachuelos is full of guests. Don Carlo di Vargas, Leonora’s brother, who hunts for his sister and her lover to avenge his father’s death, joins them. He is posing as “Pereda”, a student from Salamanca and asks a lot of questions.
Preziosilla, a gypsy girl, enters merrily the inn, urging the guests to enlist in the army for liberation of Italy. Afterwards she tells the fortune by Don Carlo by reading his palm and predicts his death.
Leonora, disguised in male attire, accompanied by Maestro Trabuco, on her way to Franciscan monastery where she plans to seek refuge, accidentally finds herself in the inn, recognizes her brother, guesses what is his intention, and hides in fear. Carlo asks Trabuco questions about his companion, but, the guests who do not like him asking so many questions, in turn ask him to reveal his real name and the purpose of the trip. Don Carlo goes on claiming that he is Pereda, a student, and at the request of a friend, looks for the same friend's mother and her seducer, who allegedly returned to South America. Preziosilla laughs at Carlo and declares she does not believe a single word. Leonora concludes that Alvaro is alive but he has betrayed and abandoned her, so she slips away unnoticed from the inn and hurries to the monastery alone.
The backyard of a Franciscan monastery
Leonora, who has come to the Monastery of the Madonna degli Angeli, knocks on the door to seek refuge and solitude. Brother Melitone looks at her with suspicion, but Padre Guardiano, after hearing Leonora's real name and adventure, agrees to take her to a secret cave where there is a bell, which she is to ring only in times of great danger, or if she is on the verge of death.
A forest near Velletri, in Italy. Dark night
Don Alvaro, believing that Leonora also died on that fateful night, has joined the Spanish Grenadiers under the name of Don Federico Herreros and became a captain. At night, in the woods, he rescues a stranger from attackers. This is Don Carlo, enlisted in the same regiment of grenadiers as Don Felice Bornos. They make friends and fight side by side in the historic battle of Velletri.
Officers bring gravely wounded Don Carlo to the surgeon. Alvaro thinks he is dying, so he gives Don Felice (Carlo) the key to a secret hiding place of the box containing letters that must be kept secret forever. The friend assures the wounded that he will surely survive and he will be decorated with the Order of Calatrava. At the mention of Calatrava, Don Alvaro shudders and exclaims "No!”. Carlo is in doubt and decides to read the letters. While “Don Federico” is in surgery, he picks up the box, finds a portrait of Leonora, and realizes who his friend really is. The operation ends successfully. Delighted, Carlo hopes to avenge his unfaithful sister, as well as her seducer and their father's killer.
A camp near the battlefield
As soon as Don Alvaro recovers, Don Felice reveals his true identity and former friends confront each other. The fighters are rescued by soldiers. The grieving Don Alvaro vows to get away from worldly life and enter the monastery.
Soldiers gather. Trabuco tries to sell them his goods, Brother Melitone rebukes them because of ungodly utterances, while Preziosilla tries to elevate their fighting spirit.
The monastery treats groups of hungry peasants to food. The leader rebukes Brother Melitone for not treating them kindly and generously, and for not being as merciful as Brother Raphael. There is a knock on the door. This is Carlo de Vargas, he asks for Brother Raphael, under the name of which Don Alvaro joined the monastery.
Alvaro tries to calm Carlo's anger with quiet words, but when Carlo mentions his origins in a humiliating manner, outraged, he rushes off to fight.
An abandoned area near Leonora's hermitage
Leonora remembers Alvaro's love and prays for a quiet end. The sound of swords can be heard nearby. Leonora rings the bell. Alvaro knocks on the door and begs clergymen to give absolution to Carlo who is dying. As soon as she opens the door, he and Leonora recognise each other and Alvaro tells the woman everything. Leonora wants to hug her dying brother one last time, she hurries towards him, and when she bends over him, his dagger stabs her in the heart. Padre Guardiano, who has come in answer to Leonora's alarm bell, orders Alvaro to stop this terrible enmity and humble himself before God. Alvaro regrets. Leonora dies.