A room in Ubaldo’s palace. Ubaldo is seated near a table immersed in a deep melancholy. His noble friends and the retainers of his powerful family approach him.
Turn Ubaldo, and reveal
your cruel sorrows –
It will be good to
share your grief with us,
and to shed your tears
in the bosom of your friends.
(softly among themselves)
He remains mute and motionless!...
Ignores our cheering words:
Ah! The unhappy man is
suffering from a secret sorrow!
The poor man is ageing
in the springtime of hi s life!
Dear friend I...
Ubaldo (aroused by Guido’s voice, rises and embraces him)
What has brought you to my home?
I will reveal it to you alone.
(The chorus leaves at a sign from Ubaldo.)
I need your courage, and I
need the help of your brave men.
Well you know
that the fierce Boemondo wishes
me to wed his haughty
daughter... I loathe her...
and plan to marry another woman.
And your promises Guido, your hopes
of regaining the power
that had been wielded by your ancestors?
I yield all to love.
I will hasten to find a shelter
in the castle of Comino’s lord and will return tomorrow.
Near the palace of my beloved
there is a chapel, and there I
will take her during the night
and once we are wed,
we will leave this gloomy town forever.
Well you know there are
spies all around us, who may
discover my plans. Can you promise
that with your brave band
you can assure my escape?
I swear it. And what
is the name of your beloved?
Elena degli Uberti.
Ubaldo (as if struck by a thunderbolt)
Elena!... (I freeze!...)
What is it?... You are trembling! You are
pallid. All your colour is gone!...
I? I tremble for you...
For you alone I tremble.
What evil genius, friend
has counselled you?
To love the daughter
of an outlaw who has just fled the scaffold?
You will call Ezzolino’s rage
down on your head.
Ah! No: change your mind...
And I should forget Elena?
You do not know what sweet enchantment,
what power draws me to her;
she is my destiny,
my life and my heaven.
I adore her; and only to love her
did the Lord give me a heart.
(I never believed that my fate
could be so horribly adverse...
Having lost her, all hope for me
is gone from my heart...
The Lord gives me continued life
only to live in bitter tears.)
My friend, I know you too well...
...to fear for your courage.
With your arms, you can give me...
(What did I promise?)
...assurance of an escape.
When the light of day
again makes the sea glimmer,
tomorrow, at my side,
in the chapel I will see you?
(What will I do, what will I do?) Yes...
An embrace... A kiss... Farewell...
(What did I promise!... What will I do?...)
In you I rely, in you I trust:
let friendship be the shield of love.
My heart is full of immense joy...
Ah! Share my joy with me.
Yes, I will share your joy with you,
friendship will be the shield of love.
(No heart on earth is
more torn than mine!)
(Guido leaves, Ubaldo falls into a chair.)
(after several moments of silence)
The mother dead, the father fled,
were the pretexts behind your rejections:
Ungrateful woman! You loved...
but not Ubaldo! – And, I, myself
should make my rival happy?
No – But... What to decide?
Boemondo will know all. Ah! I will
lose Guido, and not obtain
the fatal woman!
(remains quiet with his arms crossed, his stare fixed on the ground, then recovers as one who has reached a decision.)
Yes: I will abduct her... and be it
that friendship, my pledged word
so vilely I betray?...
I yield all to love! You said it yourself!
A hall with paintings in Sigifredo’s palace. Doors on each side and a balcony overhanging the gardens.
My father had to fly
from the ire of Ezzelino, and
that of Boemondo his equally cruel minister.
He was able to reach Belluno
and is now safe in its strong walls.
I am happy and will be even more so
when the sun sets tomorrow!
Vows formed by love, blessed
by paternal consent,
will be blessed tomorrow by Heaven as well!
Ah! How wonderful to think of my
sweet love and the coming joys...
I hear the hymns, I can see the altar
where I will be wed.
I will become yours,
yours forever, oh my dearest....
I know how much joy
the heavens created in these words!
Well, Gualtiero?... You seem agitated!...
It’s true... My entire being is moved...
I saw a pilgrim coming down the road that
leads into the forest. I went out to
meet him... Little did I dream who it would be!...
He followed me... see...
Sigifredo enters. Immediately on arriving he extends his arms to Elena and throws off the mantle that had formed a a part of his pilgrim’s disguise and which had put his face in the shadow. Gualtiero retires by a side door.
Oh my daughter...
You return here, here
where there is a price on your head!
My flight was in vain: Belluno fell,
it too fell into the power
of the barbarous Ezzelino.
Hating the Ghibellines,
a hospitable peasant hid me with my followers,
but a company of soldiers
What do I hear!...
Thanks to my pilgrim’s garb,
fate permitted me to escape,
but only me... I return to your
side so I can perish
in your arms, oh my daughter...
Hide... I hear footsteps!..
(Sigifredo leaves from the side opposite the one used by Gualtiero.)
Gualtiero (on the threshhold)
Him!... What to do?...
You come at a late hour!
I come in time to possess you. Come.
To my home
What are you saying!
Which you will only leave as my wife.
What do you dare?
You can no longer oppose my desires, cruel woman...
Heavens I... You are raving!
I only rave because of you! I am
on fire!... You must follow me...
Leave me... Stop...
No more delay!
Oh God!... Speak softly...
(looks as if earthbound to the door where her father is hiding)
Hear me: my armed men are near,
they await my summons.
Who dares to resist me?
Who can block my way?
(goes towards Elena as if to drag her away)
Sigifredo enters. He has thrown away his pilgrim’s garb and holds his unsheathed sword in his right hand.
Sigifredo!... A demon brought him here!...
God, an avenging God
has led me here, you traitor:
Honour in a terrible voice
cries out for blood...
And with your blood, you villain,
I will wash off the outrage.
I shake with rage,
and wish to unsheathe my sword;
I should punish
your rash ire...
But I hesitate to rob
the hangman of his rights.
A single cry, a single word
would seal thy doom!...
Remember the scaffold
erected by your cruel foes!...
Remember that your daughter
could never survive you.
Draw thy sword and follow me,
or I will call you coward.
I a coward!... Ah, I am blind with rage!... Let’s go.
No... First you must kill me, wretch...
(falling at Ubaldo’s feet and clasping his knees)
Ubaldo’s followers enter, followed by Gualtiero and a company of soldiers.
Chorus of followers (rushing in)
We are here to come to your aid!...
Gualtiero (extremely frightened)
Hostile fate! A troop of soldiers heard the shouts
and is coming here.. .
Gualtiero, Elena (pushing Sigifredo towards the gardens)
It’s too late.
The Head of the Soldiers
Whom do I see!...
(Ah, what did I do!...)
Sigifredo (throws down his sword)
(I am lost.)
The rebel Sigifredo!
The Head of the Soldiers
It cannot be...
Take pity on her...
No human force can separate us.
Daughter, farewell, forever farewell...
I am prepared for the torture;
but the honour of my blood
will remain unstained on earth.
This is the end of my misfortunes;
the axe will be a triumph for me...
Comfort your wounded heart,
your father will be happier in Heaven.
Father...father...they are cruel...cruel...
Tigers... furies from Hell,
plunge your swords into my breast,
but do not expect to separate me
from my father’s breast while yet I live.
Let us defy a cruel fate
and face death together,
And together, dearest father,
we will meet God in Heaven!
(What will you do, unhappy Elena...
Heaven will comfort you.
Woe is me, I am accursed by Heaven.
Strife and death followed
my coming to this place...
As a sinner who has offended God,
I bring misfortune with me!
I have the pangs of
a horrible remorse in my heart...
Ah! My friend is avenged
and I am accursed by Heaven.)
Sad night!... horrible fate!...
Miserable woman, heaven will comfort youl
Oh! How cruel.
An icy death is within my bosom!
Prepare thyself, wretched man,
For the most cruel tortures.
(Elena is separated from her father and as she sees him dragged off brutally, she faints in Gualtiero’s arms. Ubaldo leaves disconsolate, followed by his men. )