More info on Gugliermo Ratcliff
About the opera Gugliermo Ratcliff
Guglielmo Ratcliff is a tragic opera in four acts by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Andrea Maffei, translated from the German play Wilhelm Ratcliff (1822) by Heinrich Heine. Mascagni had substantially finished the composition of Ratcliff before the phenomal success of his first performed opera Cavalleria Rustiacana. After the composition and performance of further operas (l'Amico Fritz in 1891, Rantzau in 1893, Silvano in 1895) Ratcliff was eventually performed in 1895. It premiered on February 16, 1895, at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, and has been revived a number of times since, most recently in a concert performance on November 25, 2003, at Alice Tully Hall, New York, conducted by Alfredo Silipigni. Mascagni often wrote that Ratcliff was his "best opera." However, it has not entered the standard operatic repertoire, in part because the title role is one of the most taxing tenor parts ever written. It is especially known for its Act III Intermezzo, which features prominently in the Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull. (Heine's play was also used as the basis for César Cui's 1869 opera of the same name and for Volkmar Andreae's 1914 opera Ratcliff.)Read more on Wikipedia
Count Douglas, Maria's betrothed, arrives at the Castle of Maria and her father MacGregor. He tells them how he was attacked by bandits near the castle but saved by an unknown knight. Maria faints, and then recovers. MacGregor tells Douglas about Gugliemo Ratcliff, whom Maria had rejected as a suitor. Ratcliff's revenge was to challenge her next two suitors to duels in which he killed them. Count Douglas then receives a message from Ratcliff delivered by his friend Lesley challenging him to a similar duel at Black Rock.