from Act I, Scene 3 of the German opera Das Liebesverbot
by Richard Wagner
Libretto: Richard Wagner
, a novice in the Convent of St. Elizabeth's, Claudio's sister
Voice Part: soprano
Setting: a courtroom in Palermo, Sicily, 16th century
Synopsis: Isabella has come to the courtroom to plead for the life of her brother, Claudio, who has been sentenced to death for the crime of illegal fornication. She asks the Governor, Friedrich, to pardon Claudio, arguing that he cannot refuse the wishes of the orphan sister that she is. When Friedrich refuses her, she tries a different tack, accusing him of abusing God's gift of love. She finally finishes her argument by suggesting that Friedrich's heart could only be softened by the tender touch of a woman.