Richard III (2004)

Libretto based on Shakespeare’s play by Ian Burton

This opera was inspired by Richard III, a leading figure in English history for better and for worse.
Suffering from physical and psychological deformities, his hunger for power was so great that he
annihilated his own family. In Battistelli’s work, he takes on moving and ironic characteristics
able to seduce his victims and the audience with the histrionic charisma of a diabolic leader
that actually conceals his frailty. From a musical point of view, Richard is all-encompassing: he interacts with all the characters as well as the orchestra flaunting a multiple personality that is unpredictable, erratic, insecure and unmerciful. The voice, like the character it depicts, demands absolute sovereignty, able to deliver the role with forceful interpretive impact as well as give a strong virtuoso vocal performance. The libretto retraces the Shakespearean tragedy alternating powerful theatrical scenes of war and prayer with choral voices depicting various roles. At times the chorus has strong moments centre stage of the action, at other times it withdraws into a ‘controcanto’ commenting the events like an observer in the manner of Greek tragedies.

First performance: 
Antwerp, Vlaamse Opera, 30 January 2005 

Richard III, br
Lady Anne, s
Queen Elisabeth, s
Duchess of York, ms
Buckingham, b/br
Richmond, t
Edward IV, t
Clarence (+ Tyrrel), t
Hastings, br
Lovell, b/br
Catesby (+ Rivers), br
Ratcliffe (+ Brackenburry), b
I assassin (+ Archibishop), br
II assassin (+ Mayor), b
Prince Edward, controt
Prince Richard of York, boy soprano
Page, s/ms
4 messengers, men

3 (III ott).2.3 (III cl b).3 (III cfg) / / 3 perc, arpa, cel, camp / archi

Duration: 150’

Score number catalogue Ricordi:  (139300)

Reduction voice-piano:  (139302)