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Giuseppe Verdi

La Battaglia di Legnano

Librettist: Salvatore Cammarano
Based on Joseph Méry's play, La battaile de Toulouse

Cast of Characters

  • Federico Barbarossa, (bass)
  • First Consul of Milan, (bass)
  • Second Consul of Milan, (bass)
  • Mayor of Como, (bass)
  • Rolando, (baritone) Milanese Leader
  • Lida, (soprano) his wife
  • Arrigo, (tenor) Veronese Warrior
  • Marcovaldo, (baritone) German prisoner
  • Imelda, (mezzo-soprano) Lida's servant
  • A Squire, (Tenor
  • A Herald, (Tenor
  • Knights of Death, Magistrates and leaders of Como, Milanese people and Senators, Warriors of Verona, Brescia, Novara, Piacenza and Milan, and the German army.


Italy in the eighteenth century.


Teatro Argentina, Rome, Italy; 27th January 1849.


The Italians are battling to rid their country of the German Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa. Marcovaldo, a German prisoner-of-war, has freedom of Rolando's home. He makes advances upon Rolando's wife Lida, who rejects them. Lida learns Arrigo, her old suitor, was not killed at the seige of Susa as she had belived, but rather nursed back to health by his mother. Lida and Arrigo had been engaged when news of his "death" reached her. She then married Rolando at the request of her dying father. Arrigo decides to join the Knights of Death in order to drive the Germans from his homeland. Hearing this, Lida writes to Arrigo begging to see him once more. Rolando prepares to leave for battle and has Arrigo take charge of his family's safety.

Marcovaldo intercepts Lida's letter and delivers it to Rolando who becomes enraged at what he believes to be a romance between Lida and Arrigo. He vows bloody vengeance. Preparing to leave, Rolando writes a letter to his mother. Lida enters his room to confess her love for him but tells him for everyone elses sake, they must continue to live as before. Rolando knocks at the door and Lida hides on the balcony. He orders Arrigo to leave for his mission early. He discovers Lida on the balcony and denounces both savagely. Arrigo begs for death. Instead, Rolando promises infamy and bolts him in the room. Unable to escape and with duty calling, Rolando leaps from the balcony to the ground. The Lombard League defeats the Germans, but in the process, Arrigo is fatally wounded. Dying, he tells Rolando that he never dishonored him. Lida and Rolando are reconciled as Arrigo wraps himself in his country's standard and dies.

Memorable Music

The Overture
Giuriam d'Italia
Trio and Hymn - Per la salvata Italia …

Additional Information

  • Performance History
  • Synopsis
  • Arias and Choruses
  • Libretto
  • Discography
  • Pictures

Copyright © 1996, Stephen L. Parker.