Testo is a poet from long ago who animates his characters like a puppet master
Clorinda is a Muslim warrior woman
Tancredi is a Christian crusader
Part One (Tirsi e Clori, by Claudio Monteverdi)
Clorinda and Trancredi meet and fall in love, unaware of each other’s faith and cultural identity.
Part Two (Il combattimento, by Claudio Monteverdi)
Testo delivers the story of Tancredi and Clorinda’s nighttime battle in a lonely location. The lovers do not recognize one another. Testo uses war and sectarian violence to manipulate the outcome: Tancredi mortally wounds Clorinda. When he realizes who she is, it is too late.
Part Three (Leçons de ténèbres, by François Couperin)
Tancredi is left with the body of his beloved, struggling to reconcile his faith with his actions.