02 Sep 2007

VERDI: Giovanna d’Arco

Giovanna d’Arco, dramma lirico in a prologue and three acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Temistocle Solera.

First Performance: 15 February 1845, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Principal Characters:
Carlo VII, King of France Tenor
Giovanna, daughter of Giacomo Soprano
Giacomo, shepherd in Dom-Remi Baritone
Delil, an official of the King Tenor
Talbot, Supreme Commander of the English Bass

Setting: France during the Hundred Years’ War (1338-1453)


The action takes place in the village of Dom-Remy, where Giovanna was born, then in Reims and near Rouen during the Hundred Years’ War, in 1429. Loosely based on historical events, the drama has as its protagonist the shepherdess Giovanna. Urged by a group of angels who have appeared to her in a dream, she persuades the King, Carlo VII, to put her in command of the French troops, which she then leads to victory against the English. Suspected of witchcraft by her father Giacomo, she is handed over by him to the enemy to be burnt at the stake. She implores God’s help and Giacomo, realizing that he has accused her unjustly, frees her shortly before the decisive conflict. Giovanna rushes into the fray, and the French troops led by her rout the enemy. But the King’s joy is short-lived because he is in love with the heroine who has been wounded in battle. Before dying, she sees the heavens open and the Virgin Mary comes to meet her.

Click here for the complete libretto.