Argumentos
Francesca da Rimini [Rajmáninov]
El castillo de los Malatesta. Fines del siglo XIII

Prólogo
 
El fantasma de Virgilio conduce a Dante al borde del Primer círculo del Infierno.
Descienden al Segundo, donde se oye el coro sin palabras de los condenados.
Virgilio le dice a Dante que en ese espacio sufren su castigo los lujuriosos, a merced de un interminable tornado.
Dante les pide a las almas de Francesca y Paolo que cuenten su historia.

Cuadro I

En el patio del castillo, Lanceotto Malatesta está a punto de partir a la guerra, aunque reconoce que esto ya no lo entusiasma demasiado. Lanceotto es deforme y sabe que su mujer, Francesca, no lo ama.
Ella se casó con él por error pensando que lo hacía con Paolo Malatesta -el apuesto hermano menor de Lanceotto-, de modo tal que el marido sospecha de la fidelidad de su mujer y envidia a su hermano. Su finalidad es atraparlos en flagrante adulterio.
Francesca entra y reafirma su obediencia a Lanceotto, pero le dice que no lo ama. Le pregunta cuándo regresará, a lo que su marido le dice que no será sino después de terminada la batalla. Cuando Francesca desaparece, Lanceotto se echa a reír.

Cuadro II

Paolo y Francesca están juntos, solos en una habitación del castillo. Paolo le cuenta la historia de Sir Lancelot y la Reina Guinevère, que refleja los sentimientos que ellos viven en ese momento.
En este marco Paolo le declara su amor a Francesca, quien se resiste al comienzo, intentando mantenerse fiel a su marido. Sin embargo, cede finalmente a las reiteradas efusiones de amor de Paolo y a su propio deseo.
Ambos cantan su amor secreto y se abrazan. Lanceotto regresa, ve a los amantes juntos y los apuñala.

Epílogo

Paolo y Francesca se hunden en el torbellino del Segundo círculo.
Dante siente terror y al mismo tiempo compasión. Junto a Virgilio recuerda que: no hay mayor dolor que recordar tiempos felices en momentos de miseria


The setting is the Malatesta castle around the end of the 13th century

Prologue 

The ghost of Virgil leads the poet Dante to the edge of the First circle of the Inferno.
They descend into the second, where the wordless chorus of the damned souls is heard.
Virgil tells Dante that this is the realms where sinners given over to lust are punished, buffeted by an eternal whirlwind. Dante asks two such souls, Francesca and Paolo, to tell their story.

Tableau 1

In the castle courtyard, Lanceotto Malatesta is about to go off to war, but he admits that he no longer takes pleasure in war.
Lanceotto is deformed, and knows that his wife, Francesca, does not love him. She had been tricked into marrying Lanceotto by being led to think that she would marry Paolo Malatesta, Lanceotto's handsome younger brother.
Lanceotto is suspicious of Francesca and envious of Paolo. He plans to set a trap to catch them in adultery. Francesca then enters, affirming obedience to Lanceotto, but saying that she cannot love him. She asks when he will return, and Lanceotto says that he will not return until after the end of battle. When Francesca leaves, Lanceotto laughs.

Tableau 2 

Paolo and Francesca are together, alone, in a room in the castle.
Paolo tells the story of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, which parallels their own feelings. While doing so, Paolo declares his love for Francesca. Francesca resists initially, trying to remain faithful to Lanceotto. However, her own resistance erodes at Paolo's continued expressions of love, and her own desire for him.
They sing of their secret love, and embrace. Lanceotto has returned, and sees the lovers together. He fatally stabs Paolo and Francesca.

Epilogue

Paolo and Francesca recede into the whirlwind of the second circle. Dante is overcome with pity and terror, and he and Virgil remain with the thought: There is no greater sadness in the world than to remember a time of joy in a time of grief

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