(Donna). A lady deceived by Don Giovanni, who deluded
her into a liaison with his valet, Leporello. (Mozart's opera, Don
A lady who loved Ernani, the robber-captain, and head of a league
against Don Carlos, afterwards Charles V. of Spain. She was betrothed
to Don Ruy Gomez de Silva, an old Spanish grandee, whom she detested,
and Ernani resolved to rescue her; but it so happened that the king
himself fell in love with her, and tried to win her. When Silva learned
this, he joined the league; but the king, overhearing the plot in
concealment, arrested the conspirators. Elvira interceded for them, and
the king granted them a free pardon. When Ernani was on the point of
wedding Elvira, Ernani, being summoned to death by Silva, stabbed
himself. (Verdi's opera of Ernani.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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