La donna del lago Cencic 1280x680 © Anna Hoffmann

Content / Background

A happy ending in the Scottish Highlands: the Highlanders are rebelling against King James V. Consequently, the king travels through the dangerous region under the name of Uberto. On the shore of the lake he meets Elena, the “Lady of the Lake”. He falls in love with her, but she has been promised to the rebel leader Rodrigo by her  father Douglas. She, however, loves the sensitive Malcolm, so the disguised king is out of the running. He suppresses his feelings and makes Elena a gift of a ring, saying she should take it to the king if ever she is in danger. As a result of this, “Uberto” clashes with the jealous Rodrigo. The two fight a duel and Rodrigo falls. The rebels are defeated and their leaders imprisoned, including Elena’s father and  Malcolm. So she goes to the King with the ring. “Uberto” reveals himself as the  monarch and sets Douglas and Malcolm free. After completing his opera Gioachino  Rossini wrote with satisfaction to his mother that, “the subject is a bit romantic, but it seems to me to be effective”. In this work, he invented something entirely new for opera: he evoked the atmosphere of the Scottish Highlands using music. A highlight  within this is the chorus of the bards.