The Puccini Festival and its beautiful operas
The Puccini Festival of Torre del Lago Puccini in Versilia is one of those event that anyone in love with the Opera cannot miss. Every year in July and August the Puccini Festival takes place in the open air theater along the bank of peaceful Massaciuccoli Lake. Giacomo Puccini, renowned all over the world for his masterpieces of classical music, was born in Lucca and spent many years of his life in Torre del Lago in the coastal area called Versilia.
Torre del Lago Puccini and the Master
The hamlet of Torre del Lago and the Massaciuccoli Lake, just a few miles away from the beaches of Viareggio, became famous thanks to the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. He fell in love with this place thanks to its beauty and peaceful atmosphere, choosing to spend the most important years of his life along the lake, composing music, relaxing, hunting and enjoying life. Once he died in 1928, the village was renamed Torre del Lago Puccini in honor of the master with the pride of its inhabitants. His body was buried together with his wife and his son in the chapel inside his villa.
Giacomo Puccini had a really deep connection with this town. Once, talking about Torre del Lago he said: “I love hunting, I love cars: and for these things, in the isolation of Torre del Lago, I keep the faith.” Indeed, he used to take the boat from the wooden pier in front of his house to go hunting along the marsh. Moreover, it’s here that he bought his first car on 1901 so he could fast reach the close towns of Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, and Lucca.
Puccini composed in Torre del Lago some of his main operas, such as Tosca on 1900, Madama Butterfly on 1904, La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) on 1910, La Rondine (The Swallow) on 1917 and Il Trittico on 1918.
The Puccini Festival
A big open-air theater hosts the Puccini Festival, the unique in the world to be dedicated exclusively to the Master. The first edition dates back in 1930 and year by year the Puccini Festival increased its importance attracting thousands of lovers and tourists from all over the world. All around the theater, in the park, you can wait for the concert admiring artworks of contemporary artists as Kan Yasuda, Jean-Michel Folon and Igor Mitoraj. Right inside the theater, many stage costumes are showed.
Poster of the Puccini Festival
At the Puccini Festival, you can admire the greatest operas of the Master with the performances of important stars contemporary singers as Angela Gheorghiu and Rudy Park under the direction of esteemed directors as Vivien Hewitt or the dear departed Ettore Scola. In the last years, past glories as Luciano Pavarotti, Franco Corelli, and Piero Cappuccilli performed here, on extraordinary and suggestive stages with the lake as background.
The open-air theatre with Mitoraj sculptures.
The Operas at Puccini Festival
Puccini worked exclusively on classical music for theater with the intention to understand and satisfy the taste of his spectators. The public loved him and his operas, while the critics often look at him in a suspicious and hostile way.
He composed a limited number of operas, only 12, considering that he wished to create the perfect opera that could be performed permanently in the major theaters of the world.
Interest, variety, rapidity, synthesis, depth and many scenic tricks are the basic ingredients of his theater.
The Open-air Theatre in Torre del Lago Puccini
Women are the absolute protagonists of his operas, essential elements, ‘motor’ and soul of many of his works. He loves them all deeply. Puccini considers his women as eternal symbols of those absolute values, which are the foundation of any society at any time.
Here a short synopsis of the Operas that will be held at the 63rd Puccini Festival from 14 July to 30 August 2017. This special edition is dedicated to France, a country that Puccini loved very much and where he spent important moments of his life. There will be also three famous International Theater performing the most important poem of the Maestro: the Opera Nice Orchestra, the China National Opera House of Beijing (it is a return after the success of 2015), and the Novaya Opera of Moscow.
It is considered the most dramatic opera of Puccini, plenty of coups de théâtre and expedients that leave the public in constant tension. It narrates the story with a tragic ending of a love triangle between Scarpia, Tosca, and Cavaradossi.
Poster of Tosca by Adolf Hohenstein, 1899
Scarpia’s Te deum
The Opera in four acts, talk about the story of four young Bohemians living in Paris in an old garret, and two ladies, Mimi and Musetta. The poet Rodolfo fell in a passionate love with his neighbor Mimi. The painter Marcello met Musetta, an old flame and they discover that the reciprocal passion has never deadened. Unfortunately, Mimi died of tuberculosis, and Marcello, that has never stopped to love her, can’t stop crying and invoking her name.
Poster of La Bohème by Adolf Hohenstein, 1895
Si, mi chiamano Mimi – Maria Callas
This opera was unfinished and was completed by Franco Alfano after Puccini’s death.
The opera is settled in a legendary time in Beijing, where the daughter of the Emperor, Turandot is a woman with a heart of stone, scared of men and of love. Only the Prince that will guess the three riddle will become her husband and many princes died trying to do it. Calaf is the young prince of Tartary that fall in love with the Princess Turandot, and he is willing to face the death to marry her. Liù, the slave girl of Calaf father, is secretly in love with the Prince and will sacrifice her life to save Calaf from the death.
Poster of the Turandot 1926
It is the tragic and sad story of the marriage of convenience between the US Navy officer Pinkerton and the Japanese young girl Butterfly, Ciò Ciò San in Japanese. He marries her only for the period he stays in Japan with the right to divorce once he will find an American wife. Butterfly is really happy to marry an American man, she is in love with him. Once the American soldier goes back to the US she can’t wait for his return, even because she is pregnant. Unfortunately, the officer comes back to Japan together with his new wife only to take the baby with him, breaking the heart of the poor Butterfly that decides to commit suicide.
Poster of the Madama Butterfly by Adolf Hohenstein, 1904
Un bel dì vedremo
La Rondine (the swallow) is the third last labor of the Maestro, and it will be performed at the 63rd edition of the Puccini Festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the premiere made in Montecarlo on 1917. It tells the story of another Puccini’s woman, Magda, lover and kept woman of Rambaldo, a rich French banker. If apparently, she seems happy about here life, she is a hopeless romantic and aims for the Great love. One day in a night club, dressing as a grisette, she met Ruggiero, a young aristocratic of the French countryside. They fell in love with each other and decide to move to the French Riviera to live their love dream. Their fairy tale comes to an end when he asks her hand in marriage and she reveals her real identity and decides to go back to Paris and to her role of kept woman. If in the other operas the cause of the story ending is death or illness, in La Rondine it is the sacrifice of an impossible love.