10 Jun 2009

VERDI: I masnadieri — Baden-Baden 1998

I masnadieri [The bandits]: Melodramma in four parts

Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Andrea Maffei after Friedrich von Schiller’s play Die Räuber (1781).

Principal Roles:
Massimiliano, Count Moor Bass
Carlo, his son Tenor
Francesco, brother to Carlo Baritone
Amalia, an orphan, the Count’s niece Soprano
Arminio, the Count’s treasurer Tenor
Moser, a pastor Bass
Rolla, a companion of Carlo Moor Tenor

First Performance: 22 July 1847, Her Majesty’s Theatre, London


Part 1: A tavern on the border of Saxony, Franconia: a room in the Moors' castle, a bedroom in the castle

Part 2: An enclosure adjoining the castle chapel, the Bohemian forest

Part 3: A deserted place adjacent to the forest near the castle, inside the forest

Part 4: A suite of rooms, the forest as in the final scene of Part 3


The drama is set at the beginning of the 18th century and covers about three years. Carlo Moor, son of Count Massimiliano, is a young man of noble sentiments, although his impetuous temperament has caused him to lead a wild life. His younger brother, Francesco, deceitful and wicked, induces their father to disinherit Carlo, and sends him a mendacious letter telling him that he is forbidden to return home. Carlo swears to take revenge and becomes the leader of a band of robbers with whom he spreads terror in the forests of Bohemia. Meanwhile Francesco not only tries to win the love of Amalia, Carlo's betrothed, he also has his father told that Carlo is dead, and imprisons the old man in a tower to hasten his demise so that he will be able to usurp his title. Amalia, having escaped into the forest, suddenly finds herself face to face with Carlo, who has returned because of his nostalgia for her and for his ancestral home. The mysterious Arminio makes his way through the forest to take food secretly to the old Count. Carlo happens to witness this scene, frees his father and uncovers the plot. At this point he solemnly swears with his robbers to avenge the wrongs suffered by his father. In the concluding turmoil Carlo, overcome with hysterical fury, stabs his beloved in order not to involve her in the shame of his life as a bandit, and then heads for the gallows to pay for his crimes.

Click here for the complete libretto.

Click here for the English translation of Die Räuber.