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...

Umberto Giordano – Mala Vita

Opera in three acts. Libretto by Nicola Daspuro, based on the play O Voto by Salvatore di Giacomo. First performed at the Teatro Argentina in Rome on 21 February 1892.  Revised and watered down as Il Voto, it was then first given at the Teatro Lirico in Milan on 10...