Roberto Devereux

Music by Gaetano Donizetti


History belongs to her. But does her heart?

Queen Elizabeth's rule over her nation is ironclad, but a secret passion threatens to consume her. At court, the Earl of Essex faces whispers of treason amidst rumors about his relationship with the Queen. She must decide whether to sign his death warrant in an impossible choice between love and country.

Production New to San Francisco Opera

Meet the Cast

Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano

Sung in Italian with English supertitles



Pre-Opera Talks

Free to Ticketholders

For every performance, join us in the Orchestra section 55 minutes prior to curtain.

The Expert: Marcia Green

Learn about the opera’s music, characters, composer and historical background.

Watch the Video

Did you miss the Pre-Opera Talk? You can watch the video here.


Extravagant vocal majesty and theatrical intelligence...

San Francisco Chronicle

[Radvanovsky is] …a world-beating singer at the very apex of her artistry.

San Francisco Chronicle

[Barton's singing is] so irresistible.

San Francisco Chronicle



Program Articles

Royal Fireworks

Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece Roberto Devereux offers one of opera’s most compelling portraits of Queen Elizabeth I.

Director's Note

Read a note from Director Stephen Lawless.

The Real People in Roberto Devereux

Learn more about the historical characters portrayed in Donizetti's opera.


Palace intrigue involving Queen Elizabeth I and her ex-lover Roberto Devereux, the Earl of Essex, ends in a deadly power play.

Read Complete Synopsis ›


Cast and Creative

Elisabetta (Elizabeth I) Sondra Radvanovsky
Roberto Devereux Russell Thomas
Sara Jamie Barton
Duke of Nottingham Andrew Manea
Lord Cecil Amitai Pati
Walter Raleigh Christian Pursell *


September 8, 11, 14, 18, 23, 27, 2018

Conductor Riccardo Frizza
Director Stephen Lawless
Set Designer Benoît Dugardyn
Costume Designer Ingeborg Bernerth
Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind
Chorus Director Ian Robertson

*  San Francisco Opera debut

A Canadian Opera Company production.


Previous performances of Roberto Devereux can be found in our Archive.


Keith and Priscilla Geeslin; and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, through the Conductors Fund; and Joan & David Traitel, through the Great Singers Fund.


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Photo (top): Canadian Opera Company production of Roberto Devereux/Michael Cooper.