Borgia Infami: An opera in English in two acts
by Harold Blumenfeld (world premiere)
Produced by Winter Opera Saint Louis
Borgia Infami depicts the lives, loves and crimes of the notorious Borgia family. The opera focuses upon Rodrigo, who becomes the brilliant and corrupt Pope Alexander VI; his son Cesare, whose ruthless pursuit of power is immortalized in Machiavelli’s writings; and, finally, Lucrezia, the Duchess of Ferrara, Rodrigo’s beautiful daughter, and alleged poisoner of the family’s enemies. The action unfolds on dual levels, alternating historical fact with Victor Hugo’s hyper melodramatic portrayal of Lucrezia.
Borgia Infami is a singers’ opera with arias emerging into duets, trios, and a sextet. This opera features violence, mayhem, and death. The auto da fe of Savonarola is presented, along with a scene of inebriation interrupted by the death chant of approaching monks, scenes of impassioned filial love, and street urchins for comic relief. In addition to the various scenes of overflowing emotion there are moments of wistful simplicity such as Lucrezia in her convent, with a Bingen-like womens’ chant in the background. The opera opens to a scene featuring a vast fresco of the coronation of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope coming alive to commence the opera.