Puccini's Le Villi

Francesco Saponaro (stage director), Marco Angius (conductor) — With Elia Fabbian (Guglielmo Wulf), Maria Teresa Leva (Anna), Leonardo Caimi (Roberto), Tony Laudadio (Narrator) ...

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Francesco Saponaro — Stage director

Chiara Aversano — Costumes

Pasquale Mari — Lighting

Susanna Sastro — Choreographer

Elia Fabbian — Guglielmo Wulf

Maria Teresa Leva — Anna

Leonardo Caimi — Roberto

Tony Laudadio — Narrator

La Compagnia Nuovo Balletto di Toscana

Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Lorenzo Fratini — Chorus director

Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Marco Angius — Conductor

Program notes

Anna and Roberto live happily together in their little village, nestled in the Black Forest. The young lovebirds have only just celebrated their nuptials when Roberto is called to Mainz to collect an inheritance, despite Anna's dreams which she fears foretell his demise. Seasons pass without any sign of Roberto, who has fallen under a siren's enchantment, and the grief-stricken Anna dies in despair—which spurs her father, Guglielmo, to seek the help of the Villi, forest fairies who force unfaithful lovers to dance themselves to death... Francesco Saponaro offers a refined and elegant production of Puccini's first staged work, which grants free rein to the singers' interpretive and emotive choices, and Maria Teresa Leva, Leonardo Caimi, and Elia Fabbian shine under the expert direction of Marco Angius.

Nowadays, Puccini is an uncontested opera legend, but when he began composing Le Villi in 1883, the young Giacomo still had everything to prove. This first step into the world of opera was not an immediate success, falling short at a competition organized by the publisher Sonzogno. The reasons for this early disappointment are still debated today, with possible explanations ranging from a late submission to a conspiracy spearheaded by a rival publisher. Whatever the case may be, the young composer refused to admit defeat and succeeded in financing the premiere of his opera the following year. Puccini's first hit—and the beginning chapter of his long career—were history!

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