Never mind the plot Premium31 July 2014 | by Robert Thicknesse
Adriana Lecouvreur Opera Holland Park, London
Even among an operatic public armour-plated against the laughable, the final moments of Francesco Cilea’s 1902 opera can provoke outraged guffaws: the heroine pegs out not as a result of disease, suicide or even fatally impugned honour – no: she takes a whiff of a poisoned bunch of flowers … sniffs it, snuffs it. I know, I know. But the strength of the work is that it surmounts this rubbish with some of the most properly sensitive music written by any Italian after Verdi.The eighteenth-century actress Adrienne Lecouvreur, doyenne of the French stage, had a vividly romantic life and legendary (and let’s hope apocryphal) death that was grist to the mill of Eugène Scribe, originator of the dreaded “well-made play”. Composers loved these sensational
Register for free articles a month or subscribe now from £53* for 6 months unlimited access to article content.
Subscribe now and enjoy access to all parts of the tablet website, Including its 175 year archive...
Delivered to you each week
Read online / download on your iPad, iPhone, computer or Android device
For institutions: read online / download on your iPad, iPhone, computer or Android device. Email email@example.com for more information
Most Read Articles
Manage my subcription hereManage
Sign up for our newsletterSign Up