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Teatro Regio, Wednesday 25 June 2008 - Sunday 6 July 2008
In Flanders, in 1302.
Fidelia, in love with Edgar, gives him an almond branch; Edgar is moved, but is disturbed by the appeal of the courtesan Tigrana. Frank, Fidelia’s brother, is madly in love with Tigrana, but she rejects him, and while the faithful sing a religious hymn in church, she sings a vulgar song. The villagers, offended by her behaviour, send her away, but Edgar defends her and decides to run away with her after setting his father’s house on fire. Frank tries in vain to stop them and Edgar wounds him.
The party taking place at the castle bores Edgar, by now disgusted by his relationship with Tigrana; his only desire is to run away, but she mocks him, convinced that he will never be able to abandon her. The sound of trumpets is heard, and Edgar decides to offer hospitality to the soldiers who are on their way to fight the French, confiding in their captain that he wants to enlist. The captain is Frank, and after recognising Edgar, he is happy to learn of his friend’s repentance and asks his forgiveness for having wounded him.
Two days after the battle of Courtray (11 July 1302) in which the Flemish defeated the troops of Philip the Fair, the funeral of Edgar, who died for his country, is taking place. A hooded friar remembers his sins and faults; only Fidelia recalls, instead, all of his merits. Tigrana arrives and the friar promises her a beautiful ring if she confirms that Edgar was about to betray his country for money. She confirms it, and the soldiers, shocked, rush at the coffin, but inside there is only an empty suit of armour. The friar reveals himself; he is Edgar, and he curses Tigrana: “Oh leprosy, oh foulness of the world”.
Fidelia, devastated by Edgar’s death, asks to be buried wearing her bridal veil, but suddenly Frank arrives with Edgar. Fidelia finally embraces her beloved and they are ready to marry, but Tigrana arrives and stabs Fidelia. Edgar falls, crying, at Fidelia’s feet. The villagers carry Tigrana away, shouting: “to the axe!”.