Opera de Monte-Carlo 23 February 2024 - Cavalleria rusticana & Gianni Schicchi | GoComGo.com

Cavalleria rusticana & Gianni Schicchi

Opera de Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Monaco
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Monaco, Monaco
Starts at: 20:00
Overview

New production

Since innovation is not a crime, these two works, which are not often seen together, will be the object of a new production by director Grischa Asagaroff: Cavalleria rusticana, the founding opus of the verismo movement and Mascagni’s greatest success, will precede Gianni Schicchi, the third opera of the Trittico cycle, Puccini’s late masterpiece. Both works were written by composers who shared the same stages and a similar idea of the operatic narrative, and each of whom provided a striking contrast between the two faces of Italy. On one side, the fiery Sicily described in Verga’s short story, where passions are as intense as the sun that crushes its villages, and its inherent fatality that leads to death. On the other side, the refinement of Dante’s medieval and popular, elegant and spiritual city of Florence, where the vis comica colours each instant with infectious humour. In short, two operas theatrically inspired and filled with memorable lyrical flights. Under the direc-tion of Speranza Scappucci, the Italian conductor whose career is rising rapidly, two casts will work unfailingly to render justice to the extreme tension of Mascagni’s music and the agility of Puccini’s score.

History
Premiere of this production: 17 May 1890, Teatro Costanzi, Rome

Cavalleria rusticana is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from an 1880 short story of the same name and subsequent play by Giovanni Verga. Considered one of the classic verismo operas, it premiered on 17 May 1890 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Since 1893, it has often been performed in a so-called Cav/Pag double-bill with Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

Premiere of this production: 14 December 1918, Metropolitan Opera

Gianni Schicchi is a comic opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, composed in 1917–18. The libretto is based on an incident mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. The work is the third and final part of Puccini's Il trittico (The Triptych)—three one-act operas with contrasting themes, originally written to be presented together. Although it continues to be performed with one or both of the other trittico operas, Gianni Schicchi is now more frequently staged either alone or with short operas by other composers. The aria "O mio babbino caro" is one of Puccini's best known, and one of the most popular arias in opera.

Venue Info

Opera de Monte-Carlo - Monaco
Location   Place du Casino

The Opéra de Monte-Carlo is an opera house, which is part of the Monte Carlo Casino located in the Principality of Monaco. With the lack of cultural diversions available in Monaco in the 1870s, Prince Charles III, along with the Société des Bains de mer, decided to include a concert hall as part of the casino. The main public entrance to the hall was from the casino, while Charles III's private entrance was on the western side. It opened in 1879 and became known as the Salle Garnier, after the architect Charles Garnier, who designed it During the renovation of the Salle Garnier in 2004–05, the company presented operas at the Salle des Princes in the local Grimaldi Forum, a modern conference and performance facility where Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra regularly perform.

Salle Garnier

The architect Charles Garnier also designed the Paris opera house now known as the Palais Garnier. The Salle Garnier is much smaller, seating 524, compared to about 2,000 for the Palais Garnier, and unlike the Paris theatre, which was started in 1861 and only completed in 1875, the Salle Garnier was constructed in only eight and a half months. Nevertheless, its ornate style was heavily influenced by that of the Palais Garnier, and many of the same artists worked on both theatres. Although the Monte Carlo theatre was not originally intended for opera, it was soon used frequently for that purpose and was remodeled in 1898–99 by Henri Schmit, primarily in the stage area, to make it more suitable for opera.

The hall was inaugurated on 25 January 1879 with a performance by Sarah Bernhardt dressed as a nymph. The first opera performed there was Robert Planquette's Le Chevalier Gaston on 8 February 1879, followed by three additional operas in the first season.

With the influence of the first director, Jules Cohen (who was instrumental in bringing Adelina Patti) and the fortunate combination of Raoul Gunsbourg, the new director from 1892, and Princess Alice, the opera-loving American wife of Charles III's successor, Albert I, the company was thrust onto the world's opera community stage. Gunsbourg remained for sixty years, overseeing such premiere productions as Hector Berlioz's La damnation de Faust in 1893, and the first appearances in January 1894 of the heroic Italian tenor Francesco Tamagno in Verdi's Otello, whose title role he had created for the opera's premiere in Italy. Conductor Arturo Vigna served as music director of the Monte Carlo Opera from 1895-1903.

By the early years of the twentieth century, the Salle Garnier was to see such great performers as Nellie Melba and Enrico Caruso in La bohème and Rigoletto (in 1902), and Feodor Chaliapin in the premiere of Jules Massenet's Don Quichotte (1910). This production formed part of a long association between the company and Massenet and his operas, two of which were presented there posthumously.

Other famous twentieth-century singers to appear at Monte Carlo included Titta Ruffo, Geraldine Farrar, Mary Garden, Tito Schipa, Beniamino Gigli, Claudia Muzio, Georges Thill, Lily Pons, and Mary McCormic.

Apart from Massenet, composers whose works had their first performances at Monte Carlo included: Saint-Saëns (Hélène, 1904); Mascagni (Amica, 1905); and Puccini (La rondine, 1917). Indeed, since its inauguration, the theatre has hosted 45 world premiere productions of operas. René Blum was retained to found the Ballet de l'Opéra. The "Golden Age" of the Salle Garnier has passed, since small companies with small houses are not able to mount highly expensive productions. Nonetheless, the present day company still presents a season containing five or six operas.

Gala Events in Salle Garnier

Twice in its 130-year history the Opéra was transformed into a spectacular venue to host gala-dinners. The first occasion was in 1966 for the celebration of centenary of Monte-Carlo hosted by Grace Kelly and Rainier III; the second was for the royal wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene. The Opéra was transformed for the third time on 27 July 2013 to host the Love Ball, a fundraising gala event organised by the Naked Heart Foundation.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Monaco, Monaco
Starts at: 20:00
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