Catalani La Wally

Alfredo Catalani La Wally Alfredo Catalani was the great operatic hope which never materialised.  A contemporary and rival of Puccini, he was regarded for a while as the natural successor to Verdi as the leader of Italian opera, but two things prevented that from...

Jules Massenet – Thérèse

  Jules Massenet Thérèse Of several operas set during the turmoil of the French Revolution, Massenet’s Thérèse is the most concise: its powerful story of friendship, love, duty and sacrifice is an emotional roller-coaster as its three main characters play out their...

Ethel Smyth – The Wreckers

OPERASTORY: Plots Ethel Smyth The Wreckers Holidays in Cornwall with friends when she was younger had a lasting effect on Ethel Smyth. Deeply impressed by stories of the determined Old Testament zeal of isolated Cornish communities who made their living by luring...

Tommaso Traetta – Antigona

OPERASTORY: Plots Tommaso Traetta Antigona Just occasionally, an opera comes along which changes the course of operatic history. But just occasionally, operas which should be better-known slip below the horizon and disappear from view. Whilst this is sad in that many...

Francesco Cilea – Gina

Francesco Cilea Gina Opera composers have to start somewhere. In the case of Francesco Cilea, his first stage work, Gina, was a graduation piece written when he was twenty-two and performed by his fellow students in the theatre of the Conservatorio in Naples where...