La forza del destino (2005 production) - Synopsis

La forza del destino (2005 production)

Giuseppe Verdi
Francesco Maria Piave


Act One

The Marchese di Calatrava has forbidden his daughter Leonora to have anything to do with the man she loves, the mestizo Don Alvaro, because he thinks that such a connection is beneath her. In spite of this, Leonora is planning secretly to elope with Alvaro.

Together with her maid Curra, Leonora is waiting for her lover to arrive. He has promised to organise both their elopement and marriage. The Marchese surprises them before they can escape and a violent argument ensues in the course of which the Marchese is fatally wounded.

As he dies, her father curses Leonora. Alvaro and Leonora flee.


Act Two

Leonora's brother Don Carlo di Vargas wants revenge for the death of his father in order to restore the family honour. He sets out to find Leonora and Alvaro, disguised as a student and using a false name. Leonora has been separated from Alvaro in their flight and manages to remain unrecognised by her brother by dressing in men's clothes.

Preziosilla praises war and promises everyone fame and honour on the battlefield. While telling the fortunes of the assembled company she prophesies that Carlo will come to a sorry end.

Leonora seeks sanctuary in a monastery. She asks Fra Melitone to let her in to see the Father Superior, Padre Guardiano. In spite of all the objections Guardiano puts forward, Leonora is not to be dissuaded: she wants to do penance as a hermit, living apart from the monks in the monastery. Guardiano gives her his blessing and warns his fellow monks to keep away from the penitant and not disturb her in her seclusion.


Act Three

Alvaro has enlisted in the army. He keeps his true identity, the fact that he is the son of a rebel Inca prince, a secret. He saves the life of an officer who has become involved in a violent scuffle. The officer is Carlo di Vargas, who has also enlisted under an assumed name. They swear eternal friendship and go off into battle.

Alvaro is wounded. He makes Carlo promise to destroy all his personal papers if he should die. Amongst these Carlo discovers a picture of his sister and realizes that it was Alvaro who murdered his father.

Once Alvaro has recovered, Carlo challenges him to a duel but their fight is interrupted by the patrol. Alvaro decides to enter a monastery.

Preziosilla is going about her business telling fortunes in the camp. Trabuco is doing business with the last of the soldiers' valuables. Fra Melitone in the guise of an army chaplain accuses the soldiers of godlessness and vice, and Preziosilla answers him with wild battle cries.


Act Four

Back in the monastery, Fra Melitone demonstrates a marked lack of patience in comparison with his fellow monk Raffaele when doling out soup to the poor. Raffaele is the name Don Alvaro has chosen on taking refuge in the monastery, without knowing anything about Leonora's whereabouts. Don Carlo comes looking for him and a bitter struggle again breaks out between the two of them.

Leonora has not found peace in her seclusion and begs God to grant her peace in death.

Alvaro fatally wounds Carlo in the duel and in his search for help knocks on the door of Leonora's cell. Leonora and Alvaro recognize each other. In spite of the fact that he is dying, Carlo still wants revenge and kills Leonora. Alvaro is left alone and in despair.

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