28 and 30 May 2004. Special performance for the centenary of the operas first performance, opening the Puccini Festival on this lake-side stage.
Puccinis Madam Butterfly is going on state at the open-air Gran Teatro of Torre del Lago, on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, 28 and 30 May. Usually, the festival at Torre del Lago dedicated to Puccini takes place in the summer, but this early opening is due to the centenary celebrations of Madam Butterfly. The opera made its debut at La Scala in Milan on 17 Feb 1904, and it was a total fiasco. But Puccini did not lose faith in his music; he carefully revised and edited the score and re-staged the opera in Brescia only three months later, on 28 May, this time with resounding success. It is this version, which has been additionally modified over the years, which will be performed at Torre del Lago. In the leading role is Daniela Dess, a soprano who currently is one of the most sensitive and complete interpreters of the role of the tragic geisha. On stage with her are Fabio Armiliato as the cynical Pinkerton and Juan Pons as the humane consul Sharpless. Placido Domingo will be leading the orchestra; he is ever more frequently alternating conducting with lyric singing. He will also present the gala concert Le Donne di Puccini on 29 May. This one-off evening of female vocalists will tell the story of Puccinis life through the heroines he created, from his first opera, Le Villi, and concluding with Turandot, his final and incomplete work. The Puccini Festival will start again with its regular programme in July, with this same production of Madam Butterfly (23 July-20 Aug), Tosca (24 July-11 Aug) and Turandot (31 July-21 Aug).