‘Le Villi’ signify the ghosts of maidens deserted by their lovers. The principal characters are Wulf, a mountaineer of the Black Forest, Anna, his daughter, and Robert, her lover. After their betrothal feast, Robert has to depart upon a long journey and swears to Anna that he will be faithful.
In the second act, however, he is indulging in wild orgies in Mainz and squandering money on an evil woman. Tragically, Anna dies grief-stricken, having pined away waiting for Roberto to come back to her. Eventually he returns to the Black Forest and Le Villi dance about him. Anna’s ghost is one of the wild dancers. While he appeals to her, they whirl about him. He falls dead.
The chorus sings ‘Hosanna’ in derision of his belated plea for forgiveness.