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Francesca da Rimini
Wed, 24. Mar 2021, 19:30

Riccardo Zandonai [1883 – 1944]

Theirs is one of the great tragic love stories of world culture: Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta. One of the earliest literary references to their adulterous passion was in Dante’s »Divine Comedy«. In the 19th and early 20th century scores of writers came to draw on the material, among them Gabriele d’Annunzio, whose »I Malatesti«, which premiered in 1901, was soon placed on the Index, attracting the attention of the young composer Riccardo Zandonai. His opera revolves around three brothers of the Malatesta dynasty, all of whom fall in love with the same woman. Francesca is their seductress and also loses out in the tussle of intrigues and family politics. Zandonai’s gripping musical drama is a blend of yearning à la Tristan and violent fantasies. The composer, who was posited as Puccini’s successor, fused Italian bel canto lyricism with the tough verismo of the day, incorporates impressionistic flourishes and hints at the influence of Wagner and Strauss.

Following the enthusiastic reception of Korngold’s HELIANE’S MIRACLE, which was feted by Opernwelt magazine as the »Rediscovery of the Year« in 2018, Christof Loy now tackles another rarity from the early 20th century at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. For FRANCESCA DA RIMINI he teams up again with Sara Jakubiak. After playing the eponymous Heliane, this is her second venture into the psyche of a passionate woman loving to the utmost.

Tragedia in four acts
Libretto by Tito Ricordi based on Gabriele D’Annunzio's poem
First performed on 19th February, 1914 at the Teatro Regio in Turin
Premiere on the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 14ty March, 2021