The chief work of Francesco Cilea, Adriana Lecouvreur had its premiere in 1902, during that peak time when Italian opera was adopting real-time action (or ‘verismo’). And action there is aplenty: love, scheming, jealousy, murder, all unfolding in a story loosely based on the life of a great actress in early 18th – century Paris. Cilea’s music draws from the same wells Puccini knew, bringing French lightness and colour into the tradition inherited from Verdi. The title character, a passionate theatrical creature not so far from Tosca, has inspired the great dramatic sopranos of the last century and more, her arias being superb opportunities for vocal and emotional power. But there are also great things for her tenor lover, her mezzo rival, and the baritone whose enthralment she barely notices.
Avec le généreux soutien de Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet