Leggenda in quattro atti
di Ferdinando Fontana
Prima rappresentazione: Reggio Emilia, Teatro Municipale, 11 Febbraio 1888
Nefta (Suor Clotilde) soprano
Lidoria di Brabante contralto
Il Re di Brabante – Lucifero basso
Un contadino basso
Un araldo basso
Danze nell’atto I (composte da Carlo Coppi)
Demoni – Anime di dannati – Angeli – Cherubini – Serafini
Santi – Vergini – Martiri – Patriarchi – Pescatori-gitani – Vassalli di Brabante
Cavalieri – Damigelle – Contadini e Contadine – Suore – Soldati
Vai alle scansioni del libretto:
[Reggio-Emilia], [Stab. Tip. Lit. Degli Artigianelli], 1887
Piano score (Milano, Ricordi, 1888)
(IMSLP – Petrucci Music Library)
Manuscript score (1888)
(Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Digitalisierte Sammlungen)
Manuscript score (circa 1889)
(Historisches Aufführungsmaterial der Bayerischen Staatsoper, vol. 1)
Asrael and Nefta were angels in Heaven and lovers. When Lucifer rebelled against God, Asrael fought against him and his followers but was captured by them.
Asrael thought of nothing but Nefta during his captivity. When he asked about her, he was told that God had died and he would now find Nefta in the realm of the rebels.
Asrael believed the lies and went down to Hell, but Nefta was nowhere to be found. He tried to forget his great sorrow by indulging in obscene kissing and God damned him for eternity.
Asrael continued to mourn for the loss of Nefta from his exile in Hell and Nefta wept for Asrael up in Heaven.
A remorseful Asrael gained permission from Lucifer to go to Earth for a year in exchange for a promise to bring back a soul stolen from Heaven. Nefta gained permission from Mary to go down to Earth for a year in exchange for a promise to bring back a soul taken from Hell.
Disguised as Sister Clotilde, Nefta meets Asrael in a wood near Lidoria castle when he is battling against the squires of the king’s daughter. She has ordered them to take him prisoner because he won a wedding ring by holding her dazzling gaze, but then refused it and threw it at her feet.
Both Lidoria di Brabante and Loretta the gypsy are infatuated with Asrael, but he manages to escape from their clutches and find refuge in the convent of Sister Clotilde. There, she warmly and tenderly encourages him to utter the holy words of the “Hail Mary”. When he does so, the backcloth is torn open, the sky appears again and Asrael realizes that Sister Clotilde is his beloved Nefta.
Asrael is forgiven for his sins and they all return to eternal bliss.
MANIFESTI DALLE RAPPRESENTAZIONI
The scenery for Asrael
Costume sketches for Asrael
The day after the premiere of Asrael, the following article was published in “Interessi Locali” magazine in Bologna: