Major Operas | Ernelinde, princesse de Norvège by François-André Danican Philidor | Classical Era

Ernelinde, Princess of Norway

Composed: 1767
Premiered: 1767, Paris
Libretto by Antonine Alexandre Henri Poinsinet after Francesco Silvani’s libretto La fede tradita, e vendicata


The brother of Ricimer, King of the Goths (Sweden), has been killed by Rodoald, King of Norway. In revenge, Ricimer has attacked Rodoald’s capital at Nidaros (now Trondheim). Sandomir, Prince of Denmark, is in alliance with Ricimer, even though he is betrothed to Rodoald’s daughter Ernelinde.

Act I

Nidaros has fallen and Ernelinde is found as the town is being sacked. Sandomir promises to defend her against any harm. The victorious Ricimer, who also wants to marry Ernelinde, enters and has a violent quarrel with Sandomir. Even though he has been taken prisoner, Rodoald forbids Ernelinde to have anything to do with Ricimer.

Act II

In order to get rid of his rival, Ricimer orders Sandomir’s arrest. He then tells Ernelinde that either her father or her lover must die: the choice is hers. Ernelinde is in torment, but eventually decides that she must save her father. After she has told Ricimer her decision and Rodoald has been released, however, she is stricken with remorse and sees a vision of her lover reproaching her for abandoning him to his fate.


Ernelinde visits Sandomir in prison and they resolve to die together before the altars of Odin and Frigga. Rodoald, meanwhile, has rallied his troops and the Danes loyal to Sandomir. He arrives just in time to prevent the double suicide. Ricimer is overthrown, but Sandomir spares his life. Through his marriage with Ernelinde, Sandomir will now inherit the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Personalities | François-André Danican Philidor | Classical Era | Opera


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