Gioachino Rossini

La Donna del Lago

Dec 11 - Dec 26

Joyce DiDonato reprises her stunning portrayal of the “lady of the lake” in Rossini’s dazzling bel canto showcase set in the medieval Scottish highlands. Tenor Lawrence Brownlee is the king who pursues her. Rossini master Michele Mariotti conducts the operatic adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s classic.

"Joyce DiDonato is an absolute marvel... To hear her now is to hear a great voice in its prime: an easy, honeyed tone, ample volume, accurate pitch, a quick coloratura... lines achingly crafted with breathtaking beauty... DiDonato's portrayal at this point is a complete vocal and dramatic achievement, and truly must be experienced in person to be appreciated." (New York Classical Review)

"Fiercely athletic vocals... As Elena, the incandescent mezzo Joyce DiDonato commands the necessary vocal backbone to focus the drama on herself... Lawrence Brownlee gave a thrilling performance as the king." (New York Times)

Co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and the Santa Fe Opera

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 10 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 93 mins
  • Intermission 35 mins
  • Act II 62 mins
  • Opera Ends
Dec 11 - Dec 26

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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A scene from La Donna del Lago

“A major triumph”

—The Huffington Post

World premiere: Teatro San Carlo, Naples, 1819. Met premiere: February 16, 2015. Featuring one of Rossini’s most beautiful and expressive scores, La Donna del Lago was the first opera by a major composer to be based on the works of Sir Walter Scott, whose literary imagination would become hugely influential in the emerging Romantic era. An instant success at the time, the opera disappeared from the stage in the mid-19th century, along with many other works of the period, and has only recently been rediscovered with the resurgence of interest in bel canto.


Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) was the world’s foremost opera composer in his day. Over the course of just two decades he created more than 30 works, both comic and tragic, before retiring from opera composition, at the age of 37. Librettist Andrea Leone Tottola (d. 1831) was poet to the Royal Theaters in Naples and worked with Rossini on several operas, including Mosè in Egitto (1818) and Zelmira (1822). Among his other collaborators were Donizetti and Bellini.

Production Paul Curran

Set & Costume Designer Kevin Knight

Lighting Designer Duane Schuler

Projection Designer Driscoll Otto

Gioachino Rossini


Gioachino Rossini


A scene from La Donna del Lago

The story takes place in Scotland in the first half of the 16th century, during the reign of King James V, who is anecdotally said to have traveled throughout his kingdom in disguise as a commoner. His reign was filled with civil strife and war with neighboring England. He was the father of Mary Stuart. The Scotland of the 19th-century Romantics’ imagination was a wild land where the usual rules of decorum didn’t apply, an imaginary place that was to inspire generations of artists and musicians.


Containing a wealth of rapturously beautiful melody, the score of La Donna del Lago is also an evocative reflection of the imagery of Scott’s poem, with unusual orchestral colors, an offstage band, and surprising effects in the use of the chorus. The writing for the soloists is highly virtuosic. The supreme moment is reserved for the title character, who dominates the final scene in the brilliant “Tanti affetti.” It represents a fitting climax to the heroine’s journey, a revelation of exuberant joy that would be inexpressible in words alone.