All tagged Puccini

Le Villi (or Les Willis or The Fairies) – Puccini – Royal Festival Hall

Giacomo Puccini’s first staged work was the one act opera ‘Les Willis’ based on a short story by Jean Baptiste-Karr.  The story tells the tale of the love between Anna and Roberto.  Roberto is enchanted away from Anna by another and Anna dies of a broken heart.  Her father calls upon the ‘Villi’ to take vengeance and the Fairies make Roberto dance until he dies of exhaustion.  This one act opera was written for a competition, but politics played and it did not get even an honourable mention.  However, Puccini’s work was heard by Ricordi, who immediately recognised its outstanding qualities and he published the work. 

Das Wunder der Heliane at Vlaanderen Opera House Antwerp

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was born in 1897 in Austria/Hungary and died at the age of 60 in California.  He was a child prodigy, having a great European career until the rise of the Nazi regime forced him to flee to America in 1934.  Thereafter, he worked on some 16 Hollywood films, writing the scores and receiving two Oscars for his work.  His main classical work was written in Europe and this particularly applies to the opera, Das Wunder der Heliane (The Miracle of Heliane), which is written in three acts and was first performed at the Hamburg State Opera in October 1927. 

Aida at the English National Opera

Aida was premiered in Cairo’s Opera House at the end of 1871, having been commissioned by the Isma’il Pasha.  Its premier was meant to coincide with the opening of the opera house, but as a result of the Franco-Prussian war the scenery and costumes were stuck in Paris and Verdi’s Rigoletto was performed instead, with Aida premiering later in the year.  The premiere was met with great critical acclaim and the European premiere was held in February 1872 at La Scala Milan.  Over the next 20 years the opera became part of the staple repertoire of opera houses all over Europe and America, where different productions tried to deal with the passionate nature of relationships between three high born individuals, ultimately ending in inevitable betrayal. 

Turandot at The Royal Opera House

The original story of Turandot is centred on the epic works of the 12th century Persian poet, Nizani, based on Turad-Dokht (daughter of Turan).  This was Puccini’s last opera and in fact he never completed the third Act at the time of his death in 1924.  The ending of this opera was completed by Alfano, based on sketches left behind by Puccini.  The original premier of Turandot was held in Milan in 1926 and conducted by Toscanini.  Luciano Berio was also sanctioned to make a new completion for the opera, but this is rarely performed.

Tosca at the Grange Park Opera

Tosca was chosen by Grange Park Opera to open its new theatre at the home of the mercurial Bamber Gascoigne at West Horsley Place in Surrey.  The modern horseshoe design on four tiers with a semi-domed roof enables you to enjoy a clear vibrant acoustic sound.  

La Rondine at Opera Holland Park

La Rondine has a rather varied history and is often regarded as Puccini’s ‘poor cousin’ opera.  He was, even until his death, unhappy with each of the three versions that he wrote (1917, 1920, 1921) and never gave a clear indication as to his preferred ending he preferred.