The Force of Destiny

A Review and Synopsis of an 1862 Opera by Giuseppe Verdi


picI first became interested in this opera after hearing the overture played by Richard Evan's Leyland Motors Band and later on tv accompanying lager advertisements. More recently during concert performances of 'La Vergine degli Angeli', sung in honour of Our Lady on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the close of act II, I became curious to know more about the opera and the other musical gems it might contain, and resolved to investigate. However, being a great fan of the happy ending I was a little disappointed to find a rather gruesome storyline with a less than uplifting conclusion. It's just part of the tradition of grand opera I suppose, but people of a sensitive disposition would be well advised to give this musical masterpiece a miss.

The opera is set in Seville Spain and in Italy at the time of the wars of Austrian succession between the Austrians and the armies of the King of Naples and his Spanish allies. Alvaro a young South American nobleman of mixed race now settled in Seville falls in love with Leonora, the daughter of the Marquis of Calatrava. Although Leonora knows her father dislikes Alvaro intensely and has high ambitions for her to marry into a noble and wealthy Spanish family, she is deeply in love and agrees to give up everything and elope with him. However the happy couple are unexpectedly discovered by the Marquis as they are about to leave and in the ensuing argument Alvaro's gun goes off accidentally mortally wounding the Marquis.
      Carlo, Leonora's brother swears to avenge his father's death and sets off to find the couple who are now on the run using false identities, and after becoming separated Leonore takes refuge in a monastery whilst Alvaro joins the army. Carlo meanwhile, in disguise and using the pseudonym "Pereda", is persuaded by a fortune teller to join the army to fight the Austrians in Italy. By remarkable co-incidence (or is it?) the two antagonists meet in the same military unit and when Alvaro saves the life of Carlo they become good friends.
      Things take a turn for the worse however when Alvaro is wounded in the battle of Velletri and thinking he will die from his wounds, hands Carlo a box containing letters to be destroyed on his demise. Becoming curious and suspicious Carlo breaks a promise and opens the box to find a picture of his sister amongst the contents and realises his friend's true identity. When it transpires that Alvaro is now likely to make a full recovery Carlo confronts him and a struggle develops, they are separated by fellow officers giving the desperate Alvaro the opportunity to escape and seek sanctuary with a religious order, quite by chance close to where Leonore is now living as a hermit.
      When Carlo arrives a fight ensues in which he is mortally wounded by Alvaro, Leonore alarmed by the disturbance rushes in to discover the tragic scene and recognises her lover and brother lying on the ground. In the turmoil that follows Carlo with last breath manages to fulfil his vengeful promise by stabbing his sister whilst she is bending over him. Alvaro later jumps to his death from a cliff unable to come to terms with the guilt of the tragedy resulting from his passionate affair. We don't know if Verdi was trying to lighten the bleak conclusion of his opera but in 1869 he added the now familiar overture and had the storyline revised in the last act to allow Alvaro to be the sole survivor of this rather horrific and sad early fore-runner to East Enders. A tragic storyline but wonderful music and well worth listening to.

picFarthingale Publications: ..... picIs a hobby web site containing articles of local interest to Lancastrians, some favourite walking and cycling routes, selected words and poetry, and some writings of more general nature as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page or via one of the direct links below.
Local Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; God's Choir; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God’s Fair Earth; The Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It’s a Funny Life; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; Wigan Old Bank 1792; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; The Holy City Liverpool; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; A Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak.
Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Linear Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).
Words & Poetry: Wisdom; Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dover Harbour; Rogue Herries; The Heart of Midlothian; King Cotton; The Family Man; The Pickwick Papers; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; A Legend of Montrose; When Winds Breathe Soft; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; The Antiquary; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth’s dialect poetry; Martyrs of the Arena; Th' Coartin' Neet; Boat Song; Toddlin' Whoam; A Lancashire Mon; Calm is the Sea; The Bride of Lammermoor; Redgauntlet; A Tale of Two Cities.
Wallgate Chronicles: pic Little Dorrit; Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Marriage of Figaro; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time 1960; Travels in Time 2010; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin; The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times.

Selected articles from the above listed:
pic Richmond Hill Dairies - Pemberton - These pages contain some personal memories from my youth and my association with Richmond Hill Dairies, a local business I grew up with and remember with some affection. A well known and important feature of the local community in its day and part of the heritage of Pemberton, this is my attempt to commit some small snapshot of its history to print, I hope these pages paint a worthy picture.
Mind Your Language - A humorous poem by "the bard of Haydock" George Anderton, inspired by memories of a trip to Bad Canstatt, Stuttgart Germany with the Haydock Male Voice Choir in 1975. This publication will bring a smile to the faces of not only those members who were there at the time and know the people involved but the wider population of Haydock as well who speak the language.
Wigan and the American Civil War - Wigan Coal and Iron Company, The Right Honourable John Lancaster MP for Wigan, the Confederate Raider Alabama, USS Kearsarge, Cherbourg and the yacht Deerhound all feature in the last great sea battle of the American Civil War.
Wigan Old Bank 1792 - A tragic boating accident on Windermere and a surprising journey through the social history of Wigan during the reign of Queen Victoria, highlighting the relationships between four families who played an important part in the commercial development of the town.
The Brocklebank LineDaniel Brocklebank (1741-1801), shipbuilder and mariner, a brief biography, and some background detail of his family and the shipping line he founded.
Little Ships at ZeebruggeAn account of a heroic attempt to block the port of Zeebrugge during the first World War, to protect supply routes into the UK by denying enemy submarines based there access to the open sea.
A Cricket Calypso - A short biopic of cricketer Cyril Washbrook and a snapshot of his career including his role in the West Indies tour of 1950 recorded in the lyrics of the Cricket Calypso.
Not Much of a Warrior - Wigan RLFC in the fifties and sixties, through rose coloured glasses. A golden age of legendary players and memorable moments, along with some personal memories.

picThe Langdales from Moss Eccles Tarn