Synopsis of Andrea Chénier
In the castle of the Countess of Coigny's, the young butler Gérard is decorating the nursery for a party. The French Revolution is approaching and Gérard is ruminating about his hatred for his masters; all but one: the young countess Maddalena whom he's in love with. During the party, the poet Andrea Chénier is highly criticized by Maddalena because his poems lack of modernity. Chénier defends his work by expressing his ideals against the corrupted customs of his age. In the meantime, he urges Maddalena to exalt the feeling of love, so underestimated in their society. Maddalena, surprised by his words, apologizes. The party is interrupted by a crowd of poor people introduced by Gérard. The countess scolds him and he leaves his position and the party, which carries on.
Son sessant'anni, o vecchio, Gérard's romance
O pastorelle, addio, chorus
Un dì all'azzurro spazio, Chénier's improvviso
We are now in Paris at the time of Terror. Chénier is stalked by an incroyable, a person sent by Gérard, who has now become head of the revolution. Maddalena, whose mother was killed by the rebels, is forced to hide and live in poverty. She has written anonymously to Chénier asking for protection. Unaware of the woman's identity, Chénier asks help to Bersi, a prostitute. To avoid being captured, he has to run away but he wants to see the mysterious woman first. He meets her at night near the Peronnet bridge and recognizes Maddalena immediately. The two fall quickly in love but the stalker has alerted Gérard who's still in love with Maddalena. The girl runs away but Chévier and Gérard start a fight and Gérard gets badly wounded. For the love he has for Maddalena, he suggests Chénier to take her away with him.
Ecco l'altare, Chénier and Maddalena's duet
Gérard is trying to convince people to donate money to the cause because France is badly in need. An old blind woman, Madelon, offers her only nephew. The stalker, once alone with Gérard, convinces him to denounce and accuse Chénier, who has been arrested. Gérard hesitates but in the ends gives in. Maddalena, shocked, offers herself to him in order to save Chénier and this moves Gérard so much he decides to save him. During the court hearing, the poet defends himself from all the accusations and Gérard, feeling guilty, withdraw the charges. However, it is too late and Chénier is sentenced to death.
Nemico della patria?!, Gérard's aria
La mamma morta, Maddalena's aria
Si, fui soldato, Chénier's aria
Andrea Chénier, helped by his friend Roucher, writes his last poems before his death. Maddalena manages to have a meeting with him thanks to Gérard and a bribed guard. At sunrise, when the soldiers come to get the prisoners, Maddalena gives her own permit to another prisoner, Lidia Legrey, and takes her identity. The two lovers are now united but walking towards death together, while Gérard cries the imminent loss of his love.