Fedora, which premiered at the Teatro Lirico in Milan on November 17, 1898, is a gripping verismo thriller whose premiere was also an outstanding success because it featured two great singing stars of their time: Gemma Bellincioni and Enrico Caruso, for whom Giordano composed the short aria "Amor ti vieta." But the title role was and is also a grateful vehicle of notable divas: Maria Callas (albeit undocumented), Renata Tebaldi, Magda Oliviero, Mirella Freni or Angela Gheorghiu are just a few singing personalities who made the work "their" piece.
The fiancé of Princess Fedora Romazov falls victim to an alleged political assassination in St. Petersburg. Count Loris Ipanov is quickly identified as the main suspect. Months later, the princess meets Loris at a ball in her Parisian palace and sees the moment of her revenge has come. The Count has fallen madly in love with her and confesses to actually killing her fiancé. Fedora asks Loris to come back later. She quickly writes a letter to the Russian police chief accusing him of murdering her lover. After Loris returns, Fedora has to hear that her fiancé cheated on her with Loris' wife and that he then shot him in self-defense. Now Fedora can no longer hide her feelings either. The lovers flee from the police to the Bernese Oberland. There, Loris learns of the death of his brother and mother through a letter, triggered by the investigations of the secret police in St. Petersburg. He vows to take revenge on the unknown informant. However, when he realizes that it is Fedora, he curses her. Filled with guilt, she poisons herself, and Loris forgives the dying woman.