Elena e Gerardo is the only opera by Marianna Bottini – arguably 19th Century Italy’s greatest female composer – and it has never been performed. Random Opera is excited to be bringing the WORLD PREMIERE of this work to Rugby in 2023.

Marianna Bottini

Born in 1802, Bottini was a contemporary of Rossini, and was admitted to the Academy of Music in Bologna as an “Honorary Master Composer” at the age of just 18. Bottini composed Elena e Gerardo in 1822 at the age of 20. She subsequently stopped composing at the age of 21, when she married.

Elena e Gerardo is based on an original story by Matteo Bandello (who later wrote the original story of Romeo & Juliet that formed the basis of Shakespeare’s play). The links with Romeo & Juliet are clear, with the two noble families & a secret marriage being central to both.

General Director Richard Tegid Jones discovered that the completed score was in the archives at the Institute Boccherini in Lucca, and set about plans to stage the work for the first time. We will be bringing the world premiere to the Temple Speech Room in Rugby in 2023, accompanied by a 26-piece chamber orchestra.

The combination of Bottini’s clear talent as a composer, as well as the importance of correcting the historic gender imbalance that has left this work unperformed for 200 years, makes this a very important premiere not just for Random Opera, but for the opera world in general.

Watch an exclusive first performance of Elena’s aria “Perchè mai”, by Julieth Lozano (soprano) & Mary Reid (Harp), demonstrating the extraordinary beauty of this work

Support our project to bring this opera to the stage, and to publish the score. Whether a one-off donation or a regular monthly amount, every penny will help us to realise this project. Donate today!