Although the title of this Opera is dedicated to the count Roberto Devereux, the real protagonist of Donizetti's beautiful opera is definitely the childless Queen who never married but who was able to love. History teaches us that Elizabeth was an excellent sovereign who guided her Empire with devotion and passion but it was Gaetano Donizetti the one who led us through the recount of her human side, showing us her fragility and strength, typical of those who love and are not loved back.
Synopsis Roberto Devereux
London, XVI century. At Westminster, the count Roberto Devereux is threatened with arrest for treason for his recent débâcle in Ireland, but Queen Elizabeth loves him and is determined to save him, and gives him a ring that will guarantee his freedom. Unknown to the Queen, however, Roberto is deeply in love with Sara, who during his absence has been forced into a loveless union with his friend the duke of Nottingham. Later, Roberto visits Sara to say farewell, and he entrusts her with Elizabeth's ring, while she gives him a scarf in return.
The ministers of the Queen are meeting to decide Roberto's fate. They have searched his apartments and bring the Queen the scarf. When Nottingham sees it, remembering that he has observed his wife working on it, he bursts into a jealous rage. Deeply offended herself at this apparent evidence of Roberto's infidelity, the queen is furious. Roberto is sent to the Tower.
Roberto begs Sara to return the ring to the Queen but after Nottingham has confronted his wife, he has ordered her seclusion at home, thereby making it impossible for her to send the ring back to Elizabeth. In the Tower, Roberto hopes he can restore Sara's reputation before he is executed. At Westminster, Elizabeth is miserable, wondering why she has not received the ring, wanting Roberto to be spared. As a cannon shot announces Roberto's execution, Sara rushes in with the ring, followed by Nottingham, who declares he detained Sara so that he might have his revenge. The Queen orders their arrest and then, haunted by visions of Roberto's ghost and her own demise, announces her abdication in favour of James I.