Emma d’Anitochia is one of a number of important operas which Mercadante wrote in the years 1831-1837 - a period that began on his return from several years spent in Spain and Portugal. It was premiered at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice on the 8th March 1834 and tells the story of Emma (Nelly Miricioiu) on the rebound from an unhappy marriage, marries Count Corrado (Robert Serville), only to discover that his favourtie nephew, Ruggiero (Bruce Ford) is her ex-lover. Ruggiero is to marry Corados daughter, Adelia (Maria Constanza Nocentini), but confesses to Emma that he still loves her. They agree to run away together but are intercepted by Corrado. Ruggiero is banished forever and Emma finding life impossible, takes poison and dies. The libretto of the opera written by Felice Romani, the librettist of Bellinis Norma, is centred more on present passion and anguish rather than detailing reasons and motives. Romanis libretto is right at the centre of the raison detre of Italian romantic opera: the depiction of human beings swept away by overwhelming passions. It is a libretto which lent itself admirably to the concern of all Italian composers to express heightened emotion through memorable melody.