Teatro Regio – Wednesday 25 June 2008 at 8 pm
The extraordinary appointment with the last opera of the 2007-08 Opera Season of the Teatro Regio.
Wednesday 25 June the contemporary public will be able to hear, for the first time, the original version in four acts of Edgar by Giacomo Puccini. Thanks to the rediscovery of the manuscript score, after 119 years since the first and only performance in Milan in 1889 and after numerous versions condensing the opera in three acts, it will again be possible to hear the original opera that Puccini wrote, based on the dramatic poem La Coupe et les lèvres by Alfred de Musset. Among the “rediscovered” pieces, thanks to the collaboration and enthusiasm of the composer’s granddaughter, Simonetta Puccini, an aria for the protagonist in the first act; a double chorus for the principal roles and Tigrana’s brilliant toast in the second act; a long orchestral prelude, an aria for Fidelia and a love duet between Fidelia and Edgar in the fourth act.
On the podium of the Orchestra of the Regio is maestro Yoram David. The Isreali conductor returns to the Regio 6 years after the success of Il Prigioniero. The direction of the new staging is by Lorenzo Mariani, responsible for prestigious stagings in Italy and abroad – having worked with, among others, Abbado, Gardiner and Chung – who has nourished for years a great enthusiasm for Edgar and proclaims his great satisfaction «to be able to revive the first version of the opera, rescuing it from inexplicable oblivion». Together with Maurizio Balò, who has created the sets and costumes, he has imagined a neo-Gothic setting of considerable impact for this new production realised in co-production with the Teatro Comunale of Bologna.
A love triangle is at the centre of the drama, set in Flanders in 1302 and transformed into a libretto by Ferdinando Fontana, in which Edgar is the protagonist, torn between pure love for the sweet Fidelia and passion for the sensual Tigrana. After setting fire to his father’s house, Edgar runs off with Tigrana, but he soon tires of her and abandons her to enlist in the army that is fighting the French. In the third act, we find that Edgar has staged his death in battle and attends his own funeral pretending to be a friar; in this disguise he reminds everyone present of his sins and convinces Tigrana to describe Edgar as a traitor. At the news, the soldiers try to destroy the coffin, but discover that inside there is only a suit of armour. The friar then reveals his true identity. The final act opens on the day of Edgar and Fidelia’s wedding, abruptly interrupted by Tigrana who stabs the bride-to-be. Edgar is horrified and wants to kill her, but the villagers condemn her to death and carry her away.
Acclaimed all over the world for his intense interpretations, José Cura will be Edgar. His rich and brilliant tenor voice, together with his stage presence, fascinating and magnetic, make him one of the most charismatic and sought-after artists in the world. With him, two prima donnas, two artists of great charm and with skyrocketing careers: the Italian soprano Amarilli Nizza will be Fidelia and the Russian mezzo-soprano Julia Gertseva will be Tigrana. The first is making a name for herself as one of the most interesting Puccini voices of her generation; last February at the Teatro Comunale of Modena she interpreted in the same evening the three female roles of Puccini’s Trittico, arousing enthusiastic consensus. Gertseva – born in St Petersburg, where she studied voice, pianoforte and choral conducting – dominates the international opera scene today. In her interpretation of Carmen at the Regio in 2006, she was esteemed for her ardent and determined vocal temperament.
Baritone Marco Vratogna completes the cast, famous for the beautiful quality and power of his voice, together with a stage presence of rare impact, allowing him to make a name for himself on the most important stages.
Directors of the Chorus and Children’s Chorus of the Teatro Regio and the “G. Verdi” Conservatory will be Claudio Marino Moretti and Claudio Fenoglio.
The opera, on stage for ten performances from25June to 6 July, will be presented to the public by Susanna Franchi on Wednesday 11 June at 5 pm in the Foyer del Toro. On 25 June, at 5 pm in the Sala Maria Callas of the Regio, an important round table discussion will be held, with details of the rediscovery of Puccini’s autograph score made known and the various versions compared. Participating will be Simonetta Puccini, Gabriele Dotto, Linda Fairtile, Cristiano Ostinelli, Claudio Toscani and Susanna Franchi.
Edgar, which is legitimately included in the celebrations for the 150 years from the birth of Giacomo Puccini, marks the beginning of a collaboration between the Teatro Regio and the RAI, thanks to which the opera will be broadcast live on 25 June on Rai Radio Tre and a DVD will be made.