The Freiburg Opera Wonder – Part 2
It is a story as if made for the stage: Francesca da Rimini as a deceived woman-in-love who disregards her arranged marriage, decides that she has the perfect right to true love, and for this reason ends up being murdered. Dante originally wrote only a few verses on this subject, but some decades later Boccaccio expanded this sketch into a tale containing all the ingredients of a genuine tragedy. In 1901 Gabriele D’Annunzio drew on this material to pen the number-one scandal drama of the turn of the century, with a heroine who engages in morally ambivalent actions during politically dark times and follows her own desire. The music publisher Ricordi recognized this plot’s potential as a music drama and commissioned the young Riccardo Zandonai, then already at the beginning of a highly promising career, to compose the music for it. The premiere in 1914 was a sensational success. As a composer, Zandonai propelled realism to new heights: the music adheres closely to the rhythm of the language and for the rest forms an iridescent backdrop saturated with color and engaging in intensive depiction of the elements of setting and plot. Our production from Freiburg is also a special event operating very much on a metropolitan level and hardly needing to fear comparison with the classic recording by Magda Olivero and Mario del Monaco. The vocal magic conjured up by Christina Vasileva and Martin Mühle in the female and male lead roles is absolutely world class!