Il Guarany

Opera in 4 acts by A. Carlos Gomes
Libretto by Antonio Scalvini, after a novel by José de Alencar
Premiered Teatro alla Scala, Milan, March 19, 1870

Shortcuts to: Characters -- Synopsis -- Notes -- Recordings

Characters and first performers:

Peri, Chief of the Guarany Indian tribe....Francesco Villani (ten.)
Gonzalez, Spanish Adventurer...............Victor Maurel (bar.)
Don Antonio, a Portuguese Gentleman........Theodoro Coloni (bass)
Cacique, Chief of the Aymoré Indian tribe..Enrico Storti (bass)
Cecilia, daughter of Don Antonio...........Maria Sass (sop.)
Don Alvaro, Portuguese adventurer..........Severino Mazza )ten.)
Alonso, Portuguese adventurer..............Musaio (bass)
Ruy Bento, Portuguese adventurer...........Annibal Miceloni (ten.)
Pedro, soldier of Don Antonio
Chorus and Orchestra of the Scala of Milan Theater
Performance conducted by Maestro Eugenio Terziani


Act I: in Don Antonio, a Portuguese gentleman's castle, near Rio de Janeiro, around 1660.
Portuguese and Spanish adventurers join forces for a hunting party, and sing the Hunter's chorus. Don Antonio worns them that the terrible tribe of the Aymorés Indians has sworn revenge after a white man has insulted an Indian woman. Peri, Indian chief and a friend of Don Antonio promises to help them in their fight against the Aymorés. Peri is secretly in love with Ceci, Don Antonio's daughter. Don Antonio announces to Ceci his will to marry her to Don Alvaro, a Portuguese gentleman. Although contrariated, Ceci curbs her head in sign of submission. When the bells rings, they all join into an "Ave Maria". Left alone, Peri and the young girl reveal the mutual love that unite them, and sing the famous duetto "Sento una forza indomita".

Act II: In a cave
Gonzalez, a Spanish adventurer, is conspiring to seize Don Antonio's castle. Peri overhears the conversation. After the adventurer's chorus, Gonzalez sings the famous aria: "Senza tetto, senza cuna". The following scene takes us into Ceci's bedroom. After singing the ballad "C'era una volta un principe", she goes to bed. Gonzalez enters through the window to capture her. As he tries to do so, an arrow coming from outside injures his hand. The noise warns people in the house, and Gonzalez is forced to explain his behavior. Peri enters and denounces the adventurer's conspiracy. As the portuguese demand the punishment of the traitor, noises from outside warn of a sudden attack from the Aymorés. All inhabitants of the castle unite for defense against the terrible Indians.

Act III: In the Aymoré camp
After a fruitless attack on the castle, the Aymoré chief swears revenge. Ceci, who has been captured, is led to the chief. In another group of prisoners appears Peri. As the Aymorés know of his friendship with Don Antonio, they sentence him to death. They prepare for the ceremony with ritual dances, and the Aymoré chief selects Ceci to sweeten the last moments of Peri's life, as the custom demands. As the two are left alone, Ceci is in despair at the idea of losing her beloved. As the Aymorés come back, the chief invokes their god in "O dio degli Aymoré". In the middle of the mystic exaltation, shooting is heard from all directions: the Portuguese, led by Don Antonio, invade the camp and free the prisoners.

Act IV:
In the undergrounds of the castle, Gonzalez and his friends, decided to eliminate Don Antonio, are preparing a pact with the Aymorés. Don Antonio, knowing about the conspiracy, asks for Peri. He recognize the uselessness of resistance, and tells him to flee. Peri also wants to save Ceci. Don Antonio hesitates in entrusting his daughter to a pagan. Peri says he is ready to negate his idols and gods, and to embrace the Christian fauth, if requested. Don Antonio baptizes him in his new faith. Told about all this, Ceci first refuses to leave her father, but is ordered to do so. After they flee, as Gonzalez appears to seize Don Antonio, the Portuguese gentleman ignites powder barrils and the caslte blows up, killing at the same time the gentleman and the adventurers. From a hill far away, Ceci and Peri contemplate Don Antonio's sacrifice.

Notes on Il Guarany


A. Carlos Gomes
Operas - Songs - Chamber Music - Piano Music - Biography - Bibliography & Recordings

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