Yesterday Constance and I went to the MET’s Live in HD presentation of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, a production in which the melodious singing, and fabulous costumes overrode the slightly less than accurate portrayal of historical facts.
In the opera, Sondra Radvanovsky was spectacular as the aging queen Elizabeth I besotted with the young rake Robert, Earl of Essex. He in turn is in love with Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting, Sarah, who is married to the Duke of Nottingham. Sarah fatefully embroiders an interesting blue silk scarf with gold threads, which she gives to Robert as a token of love. Our household delights in the fact that a textile is the object upon which the plot turns – the discovery of the scarf in Robert’s possession is the catalyst, setting in motion the intense and melodious conclusion of this opera, which includes betrayal, arrest, abdication, decapitation, and general doom. We note that yet again the pivotal textile object misses the curtain call.
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