Joana de Flandres

Opera in 4 parts by A. Carlos Gomes
Music by A. Carlos Gomes, on a libretto by Salvador de Mendonça
Premiered Teatro Lírico Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, September 15, 1863

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Text by Sergio Nepomuceno (

The action is set at the time of the Crusades. Balduíno, Count of Flandres, is said to be lost in the Holy Land. During his absence, his daughter Joanna governs. One day, a troubadour arrives in the court - Raoul de Mauleon. Joanna falls in love with him, covers him with honours and lives with him scandalously for ten years. When the opera starts, she marries him and offers him the crown of the Counts of Flandres. However, the Flemish - aware that Balduíno has not died and is in Flandres disguised as a pilgrim - swear they will give their own lives to restore him to power. As the court is assembled to proclaim Raoul the new Lord of Flandres, Balduíno appears and reveals his identity. Though she recognizes her father, Joanna does not want to lose her power nor to displease her lover, and accuses Balduíno of being an impostor. The faithful Humberto asks that the matter be resolved by divine judgement, which is accepted by all. In the second act we see Balduíno imprisoned and chained by his monstrous daughter.

Joanna goes to his cell and proposes to save his life if he admits in writing that he is an impostor, renouncing the throne of Flandres. At first he refuses, thinking of his other daughter. He hesitates, but the latter advises him not to accept her sister’s villany. Meanwhile, a remorseful Raoul tries in vain to persuade Joanna to spare her father’s life. Trumpets and voices are heard and Joanna thinks the fatal hour has come, but the people start shouting vivas to Balduíno.

Raoul takes the opportunity to stab Joanna. Balduíno enters and falls over his dauhter’s body, trying to save her, because he had forgiven her. At this moment Raoul exclaims: "You can neither save her nor punish her - you are a sovereign and a father." When the Flemish nobles are going to justice him, Raoul stabs himself, and falls dead.

Notes on Colombo:




A. Carlos Gomes
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