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Pretty Poison

Some say that history has maligned her, but Lucrezia Borgia is certainly one of opera's most compelling villainesses. WILLIAM R. BRAUN takes a look at Donizetti's thriller, which opens at Washington National Opera this month in a new production starring Renée Fleming.

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Ideal Portrait of a Woman, long believed to be a portrait of Lucrezia Borgia, by Bartolomeo Veneto (active 1500-30), at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany

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