wife of Fernando Florestan, a state prisoner in Seville. (Beethoven: Fidelio, an opera.) (See Fernando.)
A princess who fell in love with Manrico, the supposed son of
Azucen'a the gipsy. The Conte di Luna was in love with her, and,
happening to get Manrico and his reputed mother into his power,
condemned them to death. Leonora interceded for Manrico, and promised
the count if he would spare his life to “give herself to him.” The
count consented, and went to the prison to fulfil his promise, when
Leonora fell dead from the effect of poison which she had sucked from a
ring. Manrico, perceiving this, died also. (Verdi: H Trovatorc, an opera.)
Leonora de Guzman.
The mistress or “favourite” of Alfonso XI. of Castile. Ferdinando,
not knowing who she was, fell in love with her; and Alfonso, to save
himself from excommunication and reward Ferdinando for services, gave
them in marriage to each other. No sooner was this done than the
bridegroom, hearing who his bride was, indignantly rejected her, and
became a monk. Leonora entered the same monastery as a novice, made
herself known to Ferdinando, obtained his forgiveness, and died. (Donizetti: La Favorita, an opera.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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