• Gioachino Rossini
  • November 2022
  • Dublin

William Tell

Rossini’s magnificent and extravagant final masterpiece makes a triumphant return to Dublin after a gap of 145 years.

A freedom fighter in Austrian-occupied Switzerland. An oppressive Habsburg governor. The most famous Swiss apple. And a love story that crosses national divides. Rossini’s thrilling epic, his final masterpiece with the world’s most famous overture, is his most ambitious, forward-looking and vocally challenging opera.

Sung in French with English surtitles.

Running Time: 4 hours with 2 intervals.

William Tell...In Focus, a free online introduction to the opera takes place on 3 November. To book your ticket, please select the link below.


Priority booking for INO Members at Advocate level and above opens on 19 May with general booking open on 20 May.

“When I first started studying this piece I was hit as if by a thunderbolt” - Antonio Pappano (Conductor)
“commanding and passionate” - Opera magazine on Brett Pologato
“pure tone and beautiful focus; tender, elegant and deeply moving” - GoldenPlec on Máire Flavin

A co-production with Nouvel Opéra Fribourg


Cast and Creative Team

Guillaume Tell Brett Polegato (8, 9, 11 & 13 Nov)
Guillaume Tell Gyula Nagy (12 Nov)
Arnold Melcthal Jesús León (8 & 12 Nov)
Arnold Melcthal Konu Kim (9, 11 & 13 Nov)
Mathilde Máire Flavin (8, 12 & 13 Nov)
Mathilde Rachel Croash (9 & 11 Nov)
Jemmy Amy Ní Fhearraigh
Hedwige Imelda Drumm
Melcthal Senior / Walter Furst Lukas Jakobski
Gessler David Ireland
Leuthold Gyula Nagy (8, 9, 11 & 13 Nov)
Leuthold Owen Gilhooly-Miles (12 Nov)
Ruodi Andrew Gavin
Rodolphe Patrick Hyland
Hunter Matthew Mannion
Dancers Stephanie Dufresne, Sophia Preidel, Laura Garcìa Aguilera, Jeanne Gumy

Creative Team

Conductor Fergus Sheil
Director Julien Chavaz
Set Designer Jamie Vartan
Associate Set Designer Lou Dunne
Costume Designer Severine Besson
Lighting Designer Sinéad Wallace
Choreographer Nicole Morel
Chorus Director Elaine Kelly
Assistant Directors Chris Kelly, Alixe Durand-Saint-Guillain
Répétiteurs Aoife O’Sullivan, Yvonne Collier
Irish National Opera Chorus
Irish National Opera Orchestra


Act I

William Tell laments the oppression of the Swiss by the Habsburgs in the company of his wife Hedwige and his son Jemmy. Their village is preparing three weddings to be officiated by old Melcthal. His son Arnold, a friend of William Tell, is in love with the Habsburg princess Mathilde, which is irreconcilable with his people’s aspirations for freedom.
While the weddings are in full swing, the imperial bailiff and Austrian leader Gesler’s hunting procession can be heard. The shepherd Leuthold hurries ahead, having killed an Austrian soldier who wanted to kidnap his daughter. Tell whisks Leuthold to safety across Lake Lucerne. Arnold has secretly left for his beloved. Rodolphe, leader of Gesler's soldiers, searches the village for Leuthold. Since no one tells him who helped Leuthold to escape, Rodolphe sets the village on fire and arrests old Melcthal.

Act II

Hunters and herdsmen praise the joys of the Swiss mountains and nature. Mathilde has left the hunt to meet Arnold, they confess their love for each other. As soon as Arnold attains military dignity, he may ask for Mathilde's hand. She withdraws when Tell and the resistance fighter Walter Furst approach. The men inform Arnold that his father, old Melcthal, was killed by the Austrians. They mistrust him because he loves the princess. Arnold is deeply moved and declares his loyalty to the conspirators. Representatives of all Swiss cantons appear, declare Tell their leader and swear the Rütlischwur, which seals their intrepid fight for their freedom.


At a castle ruin, Arnold warns Mathilde that despite his feelings for her, he will avenge his father and remain loyal to his country, and refuses to flee with her. They separate in the knowledge that it is a farewell forever.
In the village of Altdorf, Gesler stages a celebration of Habsburg sovereignty and orders that all Swiss people should kneel before a statue with his hat on. When Tell and Jemmy refuse, Gesler forces Tell to shoot an apple from his son's head. Tell succeeds in the shot, but when another arrow slips out of his sleeve, he must confess that he would have used it to kill Gesler if he had missed his first target. He is sentenced to death and taken away. Mathilde takes Jemmy with her.

Act IV

Arnold laments Tell's arrest in his hut and calls on his comrades for armed insurrection.
Hedwige is desperate and wants to join her family to die with them when Mathilde brings the unharmed Jemmy to her. Jemmy sets the hut on fire, which is the agreed sign of the Swiss to fight.
Tell is to be rowed across Lake Lucerne by Gesler and his men for his sentence to be carried out. When fog and a storm come up, Tell's shackles are loosened, because he alone can navigate the boat safely. Shortly before docking, Tell jumps ashore onto a rock and abandons the boat. His wife and son hurry to him and give him his crossbow. Tell sees the burning hut and shoots Gesler, who managed to save himself. Walter and his people appear and rejoice at the oppressor’s death. Arnold and his men also appear and announce the liberation of Altdorf. The Swiss celebrate Tell as their liberator and sing of a new age of peace and freedom.

Discover More

William Tell Programme