Tag Archives: Giacomo Puccini

Mise en scène

Mise en scène

In 2012 Brepols launched the series Mise en scène with Giacomo Puccini et Albert Carré: Madame Butterfly à Paris.

Musicologists and stage directors are familiar with the staging manuals (disposizioni sceniche) for Verdi’s later operas, which resulted directly from the composer’s contact with French practice. Yet the French livrets de mise en scène, intended to provide theater directors wishing to produce a work with its complete mise en scène, are still little known.

The publication with annotations and illustrations of a series of stage manuals for important works in the French operatic repertoire, from Auber’s La Muette de Portici (Paris Opéra, 1828) to more modern works—Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole—will provide researchers and directors with very useful tools, giving access to the original visual, dramatic, and decorative elements of Parisian productions (often thought out by the librettist and the composer). Knowing how works were originally staged can be both enlightening and inspiring. These manuals, providing faithful accounts of theatrical works, have much to offer theater historians and those working in opera.

Below, Anna Moffo sings Butterfly’s Death Scene.

Related article: Italian opera manuals

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Filed under New series, Opera

Facsimile editions

Facsimile editions may present reproductions of illuminated manuscripts; they also may document creative processes, like the famously scrawled and blotted manuscripts of Beethoven.

In rare cases facsimile editions provide evidence of collaborative processes; an example is the recent edition by Leo S. Olschki Editore of the working copy of the libretto for Puccini’s Tosca, part of which is pictured above.

With notes in the hands of Puccini, the publisher Giulio Ricordi, and the librettists Luigi Illica and  Giuseppe Giacosa—and the inclusion of pasted-in pages fathfully reproduced as separate, attatched sheets—the edition documents the collaborative process that resulted in one of the landmarks of verismo opera.

Below, Renée Fleming sings Tosca’s signature aria Vissi d’arte.

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Filed under Dramatic arts, Opera, Publication types, Romantic era, Source studies