“La Donna del Lago”, melodramma or tragedy?

Although Rossini’s librettto clearly describes “La Donna del Lago” as a melodramma, perhaps it is actually a tragedy? How could it possibly be a tragedy when it ends in the joyous “Tanti Affetti”?

All one has to do is to look at the exquisite production from La Scala ( on DVD) and watch the character of Uberto, so brilliantly played and sung by Rockwell Blake to realize that perhaps not everyone is happy at the end. Although Uberto’s magnanimous gesture is central to the opera it is not unique. “La Clemenza di Tito” is a beautiful example known to many. There are others, but what makes
Uberto unique is that his gesture is a personal sacrifice, whereas Tito, for example gains personally ( he spares the life of his best friend) from his. Think of what happens when the curtain goes down. Elena and Malcom presumably live happily ever after. And Uberto? Does Rossini’s music give an indication?

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