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Classical 101

Mary Stuart and Maria Stuarda

The Metropolitan Opera presents Maria Stuarda live beamed into movie theaters world wide this Saturday, January 19 at 1 pm. Joyce DiDonato is a fantastic artist and she takes the title role. There are several theaters in Columbus offering Maria including: Lenox, Crosswoods, Stoneridge-Gahana, and Polaris. I go to Lenox. Come talk to me and I'll buy you Milk Duds. An opera about Mary, Queen of Scots? There's more than one. Who could resist? A glamorous monarch, kicked out of her realm, seeking refuge with an enemy, having been rid of three husbands (suspected of murdering the second) who is eventually beheaded in a dreary English castle, very far from the thrones of Scotland and France which had been hers by right and England, hers by design. Gaetano Donizetti's Maria Stuarda premiered in 1835 in Milan. The two prima donnas in the show so detested one another off stage, this is opera, that their on-stage fight caused the Queen of Naples to faint and the opera to be banned. Maria Stuarda is based on Friedrich Schiller's play of the same title. The play and opera provide plenty of slap-downs and play fast and loose with history. Mary and her cousin and rival, Elizabeth I never met. However onstage, this will never do. A confrontation between the two monarchs, after Mary has claimed Elizabeth's crown and after Elizabeth has imprisoned Mary, does not go well. Mary denounces Elizabeth as "figlia impura di Bolena" Anne Boleyn's impure daughter, and throws in a cry, Vil bastarda! to boot. Vile bastard indeed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKmOVN5_BOo Elizabeth triumphs and Mary loses her head but she gets one hell of a final scene. Elizabeth gets the crown however Mary is the recipient of 25 curtain calls. Mary wins! This is opera.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.