Puritani, I (The Puritans)
  • Vincenzo Bellini. Melodramma serio in three parts. 1835.
  • Libretto by Carlo Pepoli, after the play Têtes rondes et cavaliers (Roundheads and Cavaliers) by J.-A. F.-P. Ancelot and Jean Xavier Boniface, dit Saintine.
  • First performance at the Théâtre Italien, Paris, on 24th January 1835.
CHARACTERS

Lord Gualtiero Walton, Governor General of the fortress

bass

Sir Giorgio Walton, his brother, also a Puritan

bass

Lord Arturo Talbo, a Cavalier

tenor

Sir Riccardo Forth, a Puritan colonel

baritone

Sir Bruno Robertson, a Puritan officer

tenor

Enrichetta di Francia (Queen Henrietta Maria, widow of King Charles I)

mezzo-soprano

Elvira, daughter of Lord Walton

soprano

Elvira is in love with Lord Arturo Talbot, but her father wants her to marry Sir Riccardo Forth, eventually giving in to her wishes. The Queen, imprisoned in the same fortress and under threat of execution, is saved by Lord Arturo, who leads her out under Elvira’s bridal veil, outwitting Sir Riccardo, who sees that the woman is not Elvira. She, thinking herself deserted, goes mad. Sir Giorgio and Sir Riccardo resolve to seek revenge for Elvira’s madness in battle against Lord Arturo, who, in the third act, finds Elvira again, in spite of the danger to himself. Captured, he is about to be executed, when news of Puritan victory brings with it a general pardon. Elvira recovers her sanity and her lover.

Bellini’s last opera provides an opportunity for tenors in the role of Arturo, with his cavatina, when allowed to claim Elvira as his bride, A te, o cara (To you, my dear one), and for sopranos in Elvira’s joyful Son vergin vezzosa (I am a pretty girl) and her mad scene, Qui la voce sua soave (Here his sweet voice).