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Byzantine Cross
29 Oct 2005


Fedora, a melodrama in three acts.

Umberto Giordano, composer. Arturo Colautti, librettist, based on the play with the same name by Victorien Sardou

First performance: 17 November 1898 at Teatro Lirico Internazionale, Milan

Streaming Audio

Umberto Giordano: Fedora

Renata Tebaldi, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Mario Sereni, Sofia Mizzetti. Coro e Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli, Arturo Basile (cond.). Live performance 14 December 1961


Principal Characters:

Princess Fedora Romazov Soprano
Countess Olga Sukarev Soprano
Count Loris Ipanov Tenor
De Siriex Baritone


Act One

Setting: A winter night, 1881. The salon of Vladimiro Andrejevich in St. Petersburg.

Princess Fedora is waiting for Vladimiro, whom she is to marry that day. A police officer and De Siriex suddenly appear carrying Vladimiro. He has been shot. The police officer, Inspector Gretch, questions the servants. Fedora learns that Vladimiro was found wounded in a pavillion and that a man had been seen running away after the shots. The pavillion had been rented by an old woman who delivered a letter to Vladimiro earlier in the day. But that letter is nowhere to be found. Fedora swears to avenge Vladimiro’s death. Suspicions turn to Loris Ipanov, a friend of the nihilists (anarchists) and whose apartment is near the place of the shooting.

Act Two

Setting: Paris

Fedora follows Loris Ipanov to Paris to avenge Vladimiro. She holds a reception in her home, which Loris attends. Loris declares his love to Fedora; but, she appears to reject him. She informs him that she intends to return to Russia. Having been exiled, Loris cannot return with her. Desperate, Loris admits that he killed Vladimiro. She begs him to return after the reception to tell her the entire story. In the meantime, she writes a letter to Vladimiro’s father, the Russian Imperial Chief of Police, accusing Loris of the murder of Vladimiro. Loris returns later and explains that he had caught Vladimiro having an affair with his wife. Vladimiro shot him and Loris returned fire, mortally wounding Vladimiro. Fedora realizes that he was defending his honor and that Vladimiro was a cad. She convinces Loris to remain with her that night.

Act Three

Setting: A villa in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland.

Loris and Fedora are happily in love. De Siriex arrives and informs Fedora that the brother of Loris had been arrested as a result of her letter. He dies in prison and, after hearing of his death, his mother dies of heartbreak. Stunned, Fedora realizes that she is the cause of their deaths. Loris receives letters from Russia with news of his brother and mother. A woman in Paris had apparently reported him. Fedora confesses her guilt and begs his forgiveness. He curses her. Fedora ingests poison hidden in her Byzantine cross. She dies in his arms.

Click here for the complete libretto.

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