Rival Queens—A Virtual Opera By Divaria Productions

            

The virtual world premiere of Divaria Productions’ original biopic opera Rival Queens tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I, and features music from Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda with English subtitles. Originally scheduled to be performed in-person at Bay Street Theater, the virtual presentation was instead created and prepared on an intercontinental basis featuring a director, pianist, and actors located in Spain; a writer, soprano, mezzo-soprano and film crew in New York; a narrator from San Francisco; and a tenor in Chicago.

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In contrast to the opera Maria Stuarda, Rival Queens adds the dimension of the relationship of these two women throughout their entire life and not just the months immediately preceding Mary’s execution. This biopic represents a new form of art that melds documentary film with the music of opera, which serves as the driving force of the story. The story draws on primary sources of the letters between these women—who never actually met in person—and historical research, culminating in original narration that connects the opera and the letters. 

Rival Queens is a historic metaphor for the tragedy of judgment and choosing fear over trust, painting a powerful picture of the destruction that the naked push for power leaves in its wake. The documentary opera's themes of power and femininity, and whether these two dynamics can be reconciled are topics we continue to explore today, and which merit re-examination through the lens of time. Tudor England is in many ways reminiscent of all the strife in our own society and the struggle for differing voices to be heard. We hope that learning about this story can inspire members of the community to learn more about and understand each other in order to prevent future conflict and encourage cooperation. 

The production features mezzo-soprano Anna Tonna as Queen Elizabeth I, Ashley Galvani Bell as Mary Queen of Scots, Michal Gizinski as Narrator, and tenor Andrew Owens as Leicester. The film is directed by Anton Armedariz Diaz and musically directed by Sergio Martinez Zangroniz.  

Runtime: One hour.