Christina, queen of Sweden

Article

January 18, 2022

Cristina, regina di Svezia (Kristina, Queen of Sweden) is an opera in three acts with music by Jacopo Foroni. The Italian libretto by Giovanni Carlo Casanova is loosely based on the events surrounding Queen Kristina's abdication in 1654. The opera premiered on 22 May 1849 at the Minor Theater in Stockholm.

Background

Cristina, regina di Svezia was Jacopo Foroni's second opera. His first, Margherita, premiered in Milan in 1848. But Foroni's participation in the uprising The Five Days in Milan forced him to flee the city and leave Italy. He became conductor of Vincenzo Galli's Italian Opera Company, which after a two-year tour of Scandinavia reached Sweden. In the autumn of 1848, the troupe played at the Minor Theater in Stockholm. Their performances there were so successful that the Royal Opera provided them with their own stage from October 1848 to April 1849. Due to various conflicts, however, this collaboration had to end again in January 1849, and the troupe returned to the Minor Theater. Since the conductor Paolo Sperati also left the ensemble, Galli hired Foroni as a replacement. Foroni composed Cristina in order to make a name for himself among the Swedish audience. The librettist Giovanni Carlo Casanova was also a bass singer in Galli's opera company. The opera premiered at the Minor Theater on May 22, 1848 and was dedicated to King Oscar I of Sweden, who himself was musically educated. The opera libretto was dedicated to the king's mother, Queen Desideria. Hans Christian Andersen attended the premiere and wrote enthusiastically about the opera in his memoirs. The success led to Foroni being awarded the Order of Vaasa and appointed leader of the Royal Court Orchestra later that year. In the autumn of 1859, the opera had its Italian premiere when Foroni himself conducted its performance at the Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste. Foroni revised the opera for this production by adding some scenes, shortening other passages and re-orchestrating the music. Although the reviews were positive here as well, the work never entered the repertoire. For the next eight years he continued his position in the Hovkapellet and composed music for royal occasions and concerts. Foroni wrote only two more operas before his death in cholera at the age of 33 in 1858. Although the overture to Cristina was occasionally performed during the 19th century, both composer and work soon fell into oblivion. In 2007, the Vadstena Academy performed the opera in a critical edition made by Anders Wiklund and in 2010 it was recorded for the first time on CD by the Gothenburg Opera under the direction of Tobias Ringborg. It was performed again at the Wexford Festival Opera in October and November 2013 with Helena Dix in the title role. The set in Wexford updated the opera and moved the events to the 1930s and drew explicit parallels to King Edward VIII's abdication in 1936. The English premiere took place in concert on 8 November 2014 by the Chelsea Opera Group in London's Cadogan Hall.

Music

Foroni's music is characterized by a melodic ingenuity, reminiscent of Giuseppe Verdi. The instrumentation goes beyond that in contemporary Italian operas and shows influences from the Central European style in the level of detail and the more frequent use of counterpoint. century and which was often used musically.The Trieste version differs in some respects from the original version. The concerto in the first act (no. 1) is shorter here and has been transposed from D major to C major. The duet Maria / Magnus at the end of the first part has been shortened. Cristina now suddenly sends Maria out to talk to Magnus alone and to explain her love for him. For the new duet Cristina / Magnus, Foroni used parts of the original music. At the beginning of the third act, there is another reflective aria where Gustavo remembers his

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