Wednesday 24 October 2012

Puccini's second go

Puccini wrote his second opera, Edgar, in 1889 and it was premiered at La Scala, Milan. Based on a play by Alfred de Musset it features a young man torn between the love of a pure girl, and passion for a gypsy. Sounds familiar? The opera was tepidly received, and Puccini revised it twice, the second time reducing the four acts to three. It was even less successful in the revised form and Puccini abandoned it, using some of the music for Tosca. Now the enterprising New Sussex Opera are giving the UK premiere of the original four act version, with a strong cast, featuring John Hudson and Mary Plazas, conducted by Nicholas Jenkins.

The autograph of acts 2 and 4 of the original version was only re-discovered in 2008, allowing Puccini's original version to be reconstructed (the autograph of acts 1 and 3 is in the Ricordi archives). The New Sussex Opera production will only be the third ever production of this version of the opera. The show is directed by Tony Baker, who directed their highly successful production of Gounod's Mireille last year.

Performances are at Lewes Town Hall, 25/10, Cadogan Hall, London, 28/10, Kings Theatre, Southsea, 4/11, Floral Hall, Eastbourne 11/11. Further details from the New Sussex Opera website.

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