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Teatro Regio, Tuesday 23 June 2009 - Wednesday 8 July 2009
The foyer of the Comédie-Française. Michonnet, the stage manager, is busy helping the actors before a performance of Bajazet by Racine. The Prince de Bouillon, accompanied by the Abbé de Chazeuil, comes backstage to greet his lover, Madame Duclos, the rival actress of Adriana. The Prince becomes suspicious when he finds his lover writing a note in her dressing-room, and orders the Abbé to intercept it. Michonnet, left alone with Adriana, wants to confess his love for her, but the actress, before he can speak, confesses her love for a young sergeant, Maurizio. Unbeknownst to Adriana, Maurizio is really the Count of Saxony. He has just returned to Paris and rushes to embrace Adriana. She must go on stage and gives him some violets. In Madame Duclos’s note that Chazeuil has intercepted, the actress makes an assignation with a man in the villa outside the city that the Prince gave her; Bouillon realises that it is addressed to Maurizio and has it delivered to him. Everyone applauds Adriana’s wonderful performance, and the Prince invites her, together with the other actors and actresses, to his villa: he wants to trap the two lovers in order to take his revenge.
The love-nest of the Grange Batelière. In the villa, awaiting Maurizio, is the Princess de Bouillon, secretly in love with the Count. When he arrives, however, he tells her that he has only come to look for support as pretender to the throne of Poland. The Princess is disappointed and suspects he loves another woman; in vain, he tries to console her by giving her the violets he was saving. When she sees her husband arrive, the Princess hides in a small room. The Prince introduces Maurizio to Adriana, and the actress discovers it is the Count of Saxony that she is in love with; Maurizio swears he hasn’t betrayed her and begs her to save the woman hidden in the other room. Adriana promises not to reveal her identity and to help her. The actress, after putting out the lamps, explains to the woman that she wants to help her escape: the two rivals try in vain to discover each other’s identity and they each declare their love for Maurizio. The Princess escape
During a party at the Bouillon Palace, the Princess recognises the voice of Adriana: it is she whom Maurizio loves! When the Count of Saxony arrives, Adriana realises that the woman she helped escape is the Princess. The actress recites the monologue of Fedra which talks about unfaithfulness, and addresses it to the Princess, who promises revenge.
It is Adriana’s birthday, and she receives a casket with the violets she gave to Maurizio; she inhales the perfume and feels unwell: those flowers, sent by the Princess de Bouillon, are poisoned. Maurizio arrives and tells Adriana that he wants to marry her, but she dies in his arms.