The Puccini Festival and Its Beautiful Operas
The Puccini Festival of Torre del Lago Puccini in Versilia is one of those events that anyone in love with the Opera cannot miss. Every summer, in July and August the Puccini Festival takes place in the open air theater along the bank of peaceful Massaciuccoli Lake.
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.
Giacomo Puccini, renowned all over the world for his masterpieces of classical music, was born in the close town of Lucca.
He fell in love with this place thanks to its beauty and peaceful atmosphere, and he chooses 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 in 1901, so he could fast reach the close towns of Viareggio, Forte Dei Marmi, and Lucca.
In Torre del Lago, the Maestro Puccini composed 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.
In the park that surrounds the theater, you can wait for the concert admiring artworks of contemporary artists as Kan Yasuda, Jean-Michel Folon and Igor Mitoraj. Instead, right inside the theater, you can see many stage costumes used for the show.
Poster of the Puccini Festival
At the Festival Puccini, you have the chance to admire important stars as the contemporary singers 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 Andrea Bocelli performed here, on extraordinary and suggestive stages with the lake as background.
The Program of the Festival Puccini 2019
This summer the festival celebrates 65 years and will take place from 12 July to 24 August. This is the program:
- La Fanciulla del West: 12 + 26 July 2019
- Turandot: 13 + 19 July + 17 August 2019
- La Bohème: 20 July + 3 + 10 August 2019
- Madama Butterfly: 27 July + 12 + 23 August 2019
- Aida: 2 August 2019
- Manon Lescaut: 4 August 2019
- Tosca: 11 + 18 + 24 August 2019
- Le Villi: 16 August 2019
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 his desire was to create the perfect opera, that kind of 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, the essential element, the ‘motor’ and soul of many of his works. He loves them all deeply. Puccini considers his women as an eternal symbol of those absolute values, which are the foundation of any society at any time.
Here a short synopsis of the main Operas that usually are performed at the Festival.
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 – Angela Gheorghiu
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 riddles 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 death.
Poster of the Turandot 1926
This 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
Manon Lescaut is the title of an opera in four act that tells about the love story between the knight Des Grieux and his lover Manon.
The opera is based on the novel Histoire du chevalier Des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the French author Abbé Prevost.
Des Grieux is a naive, insensitive young person that fell in love with Manon, a lady with a great love for money, luxury and pleasures of life, and destined for a future in a cloister against her will.
They will live their unfaithful crazy love between Paris, Le Havre, and New Orleans.
Poster of Manon Lescaut by Hohenstein
Angela Gheorghiu in Sola, perduta e abbandonata
Il Trittico is the title of a collection of three one-act operas:
Il Tabarro takes place in 1910 in Paris on a barge along the Seine river and is a dark and violent story.
Suor Angelica, the favorite of Puccini for its score, takes place in the late 17th century in a convent near Siena and is a story of religious redemption.
Gianni Schicchi is the most popular of the three. This story of greed and connivance takes place in Florence in 1299.