During the Middle Ages, the Germanic king Archibaldo conquers the kingdom of Altura in northern Italy. To secure peace, he marries his son Manfredo to the Alturan princess Fiora, but she is still in love with Avito, a local king.

Archibaldo has gone blind in his old age, and he suspects that Fiora is cheating while Manfredo is away fighting to expand their kingdom. During one of Manfredo’s absences, Avito sneaks into the castle with the help of Flaminio, Archibaldo’s servant. Archibaldo discovers their tryst, and although Avito escapes, the blind king demands that Fiora tell him the identity of her lover. She refuses, so he strangles her.

Manfredo returns to find his wife dead, and is even more heartbroken to discover that she was cheating. Archibaldo devises a plan to catch her lover. As her body lies in the castle crypt, he smears poison on her lips, knowing that the lover will return to kiss her one last time. Sure enough, Avito finds her body and kisses her. Manfredo discovers him as he is dying from the poison. When Manfredo discovers the identity of Fiora’s lover, he too kisses her lips out of despair. As the poison starts to take effect, Archibaldo enters and grabs his son, thinking he has found Fiora’s lover. Archibaldo tells him “I want to hear your heart beating as you die,” to which Manfredo responds “No, father, it is me. You have been deceived.” He is left alone and blind among the corpses.


The Rafael de Acha and

Kimberly Daniel de Acha Foundation


CCM/ArtsWave community partnership

Dr. George Loewenstein

William Needelman

Marilyn Z. Ott

The Saenger Family Foundation

The UC Honors program

This rarely performed operatic gem had not been staged in Cincinnati since 1947. The composer conducted it at Cincinnati Opera at the Zoo. Our production commemorated the 100th anniversary of the premiere of the work in 1913. Presented in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera as part of National Opera Week.