Opera Holland Park’s acclaimed strand of operatic rarities continues with Francesco Cilea’s tragedy of desperate passion, jealousy and rigid moral codes in the heat of rural Provence.
Where Cilea’s most famous opera, Adriana Lecouvreur, evokes the elegance of Paris, L’arlesiana offers exquisite pastoral beauty. Watched anxiously by his family, Federico languishes for love of a woman from Arles, plunging into crisis when he learns that she has taken another lover. First performed in Milan in 1897, L’arlesiana established the career of the great tenor, Enrico Caruso, and gave voice to a figure who would become central to Italian opera: the mother. Federico’s Lament and Rosa Mamai’s ‘Era un giorno di festa’ and ‘Esser un Madre è un inferno’ display the lyrical gift and psychological acuity of the most reclusive member of the giovane scuola composers.