On 4th October 1815, the premiere of a new opera seria was performed at the Teatro San Carlo of Naples: Elizabeth, Queen of England. This marked the arrival in Naples of the young Italian opera prodigy Gioachino Rossini, who was only 23 years old at the time and it was the first of the 9 works he would write for this legendary theatre. 

To conquer the Neapolitan public, Rossini took care to put everything on his side: a dramatic story with numerous twists, with his best arias and novelties specially created for his two main interpreters, the famous soprano Isabella Colbran (whom Rossini would later marry) and the heroic tenor Andrea Nozarri. The opera was a great success and Rossini became the master of Naples. 

The work contained wonderful gems and the overture was used again for The Barber of Seville together with several arias (among which Rosina’s most famous one!). In 1818 it premiered in London where the story of Elizabeth captivated the British public: the Elizabethan period, her 44 years of reign which saw the triumph of Shakespeare and the victory over the Invincible Armada under a glorious bachelor Queen was a myth! In the libretto, Queen Elizabeth the 1st is torn between her love for the Earl of Leicester, victor of the Scottish enemy and her discovery of his secret marriage to Matilda, daughter of the Queen of Scotland! The conspirator Norfolk pushes Elizabeth to imprison Leicester and Matilda, who swear to prefer death to separation, even if Elizabeth offers to marry Leicester. The plot is uncovered in extremis, which enables Elizabeth to bless Leicester’s and Matilda’s marriage. The intense expression of the protagonists’ extreme feelings are at the heart of one of Rossini’s first masterpieces. 

This production of Rossini’s opera is brought to us by Jean-Christophe Spinosi from Theater an der Wien (Vienna), with the prestigious Arnold Schönberg Chor and a high level belcanto cast for an exceptional encounter between the energy of the Ensemble Matheus and the generous soul of Rossini’s Elizabeth of England !



Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra

Dramma per musica on a libretto by Giovanni Schmidt.

First performed at Teatro San Carlo in Naples on 4th October 1815.



Alexandra Deshorties Elisabetta

Norman Reinhardt Leicester

Barry Banks Norfolk

Ilse Eerens Matilde

Natalia Kawalek Enrico

Erik Arman Guglielmo

Arnold Schönberg chor (Director Jordi Casals)

Ensemble Matheus

Jean-Christophe Spinosi Director


Practical information

Royal Opera

Thursday 30 March 2017- 8pm 


More information Book online