Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart) is a tragic opera (tragedia lirica), in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffei's translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play Maria Stuart.
The opera is one of a number of operas by Donizetti which deal with the Tudor period in English history, including Anna Bolena (named for Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn), Roberto Devereux (named for a putative lover of Queen Elizabeth I of England) and Il castello di Kenilworth. The lead female characters of the operas Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and Roberto Devereux are often referred to as the "Three Donizetti Queens". The story is loosely based on the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart) and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Schiller had invented the confrontation of the two Queens, who in fact never met.
After a series of problems surrounding its presentation in Naples after the final dress rehearsal – including having to be re-written for a totally different location, a different time period, and with Buondelmonte as its new title – Maria Stuarda as we know it today premiered on 30 December 1835 at La Scala in Milan.
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