Opera. Music that makes us fight back our tears, sends a shudder down our spines, and raises the hair on the back of our necks. Melodies that are indelibly written in our hearts and minds because of the dramas that inspire them. “A Night At The Opera” draws together the most popular arias and duets from a genre that more than any other in music has the power to unleash our innermost emotions. Sung by soprano and tenor, at the grand piano, “A Night At The Opera” relives the joy and sadness of opera’s great love affairs.
Lucca’s place in opera’s story is secure thanks to Tuscany’s greatest musician, Giacomo Puccini. Four of his works – Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La bohème and Turandot – have become constant fixtures in the world’s leading opera houses; no other artist had as complete an understanding of what it takes to create great musical theatre. Puccini e la sua Lucca – the Puccini International Permanent Festival in Lucca’s warm and affectionate tribute to Giacomo Puccini – offers six other concerts, in addition to “A Night At The Opera”, celebrating the music of the great masters, the titles of which include “Puccini’s Women”, “Puccini & The Traditional Neapolitan Songs” and “Puccini & Verdi”.
The excitement of “A Night At The Opera” is that its programme is free to feature music from any point in opera’s long history. This being Lucca, Puccini is always on the bill, but the other delights could come from any other composer who has lit up the stage with their music: while Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi and Pietro Mascagni were all pioneers in Italy, opera’s spiritual home, many other countries have their own masters: Leoš Janáček from the Czech Republic; France’s Georges Bizet and Léo Delibes; Germany’s two Richards, Strauss and Wagner; not to forget Russia’s immense contribution in the form of Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka, Modest Mussorgsky, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Puccini’s Festival in Lucca is a special occasion whichever night of the week you decide to enjoy one of the recitals in its schedule. But A Night At The Opera is the least predictable, an evening when its performers have the freedom to make their selections from a tradition that has endured for half a millennium.