La straniera debuted at the Scala on 14 February 1829. A melodrama in two acts based on the Libretto by Felice Romani, the opera was inspired by the novel L’Étrangère by Charles-Victor Prévost d’Arlincourt. The main character is the unhappy queen Agnes, abandoned by the King of France for political reasons and forced to live in disguise on the shores of Lake Montolino Brittany, together with her brother Leopold. Arturo, the count of Ravestel, falls in love with the solitary foreigner who wanders the forest, causing fear and suspicion, despite being engaged to another woman. The dramatic consequences of this forbidden and impossible love affair are at the centre of an opera where the theme, music and dramaturgy allow Bellini to experiment new compositional solutions, such as a vocal style which is declamatory and rich in pathos.