Opera à la Rudy

'I Giuliani,' Verdi's Long-Lost Opus, Strangely Resembles the Current Scandal

ACT III: The steps of the palazzo.

Twice as many Azzurri hold back the enormous crowd as La Donna (nonsinging role) arrives, heavily veiled, in the family palanquin. As she mounts the steps, she is halted by an aide (baritone) bearing an official notice of separation signed by Prince Rudino. Redescending with dignity, she lifts her veil just long enough to tell the tribunes, in her single line of dialogue, "La Giuditta non fu la prima" (La Giuditta wasn't the first), which they take to mean that Rudino has had previous affairs. As La Donna leaves, a man at the edge of the crowd shouts that she has entered the convent of Diana.

Hillaria now appears outside the palazzo, begging the crowd to leave Rudino alone, comparing his struggles with those she and her husband, King Guglielmo, face "in casa, in intimità" (at home, in private). The crowd agrees but refuses to leave. Moans of pain are heard from the palazzo; sympathetically, the crowd murmurs, in one of Verdi's celebrated choruses, "Noi, vittime del tiranno; ora soffre il tiran." (We are victims of a tyrant; now the tyrant suffers, too.) All at once, the palazzo doors are thrown wide, and out walks Oconore, whom everyone had assumed to be dead. In ringing tones, he proclaims, "Rudino è carne morte; il Principe son'io!" (Rudino is dead meat; I'm in charge here.) As the crowd shrinks back in horror, La Giuditta and the ailing Rudino appear, struggling to pull the Archpriest from his throne; Hillaria summons the Eastern armies; and La Donna emerges from the convent leading a regiment of armed priestesses. As they converge on the usurping Archpriest, the volcano erupts, obliterating Pompeii forever.

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