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Melodrama in 3 acts
Libretto by Arturo Colautti based on Victorien Sardou's Fédora (1882)
First performed November 17 1889, Teatro Lirico, Milan
A production purchased from the Royal Opera in Stockholm, first seen December 10 2016
Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) in the Holzfoyer 30 mins before performances begin
A Russian princess is a spy, lover, avenging angel, mother and martyr.
Andrea Chénier is probably the best known of Umberto Giordano’s 14 operas. His Fedora was performed quite often in Italy until the 1950s, after which it almost vanished from the stage, resurfacing now and again because of its rewarding arias for prima donnas and star tenors. Its cosmopolitan plot combines all the best ingredients of a turn of the century thriller. It starts by taking us to St. Petersburg in the 1880s, to the world of Russian aristocracy. Princess Fedora Romanov is secretly engaged to Vladimiro, son of the Russian Chief of Police. She goes to his house for the first time when he fails to turn up to meet her. He's badly hurt and later dies from his wounds. Vladimiro's neighbour Loris Ipanov is the chief suspect, but he flees. Fedora decides to join the police and find the murderer. She tracks Ipanov down in Paris and wins his confidence. He falls in love with her and confesses that he acted out of jealousy because Vladimiro had an affair with his wife. Instead of handing him over to the Russian police as planned, they go to Switzerland and enjoy a short, happy time together.
Giordano’s opera thriller consists of short, complex musical moments, which require the singer of the title role to go from piano legatos to large dramatic arcs, have a strong speaking voice and impeccable intonation. Christof Loy‘s production intensifies the drama, creating an exciting roller coaster of emotions. He brings the leading lady's inner conflict and loneliness to the fore, her dream of happiness with Loris remains an dream.