Brian Mulligan travels to London to perform Puccini’s first opera, Le Villi, in a concert staging with Opera Rara and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, the artistic director of Opera Rara, the Opera Rara Chorus and a sparkling roster of singers will showcase this enchanting work that is presented in its original one-act version.
The performance on November 21 will feature soprano Ermonela Jaho as Anna, and tenor Arsen Soghomonyan as Roberto. Mulligan sings the role of Guglielmo, the head forester and Anna’s father. Completing the program is Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1 and ballet music from Verdi’s Macbeth. In Autumn of 2019, Opera Rara will release a studio recording of this first performance of the new critical edition of Le Villi.
The reconstruction of the original one-act version of Le Villi will give audiences the chance to hear Puccini’s first opera as it has not been heard for more than 120 years—since its first performances in May 1884. Soon after the work’s successful premiere at Milan’s Teatro dal Verme, Puccini, at Ricordi’s behest, set about revising the work, dividing it into two acts and adding a romanza for the soprano. This is the form in which the work has been performed ever since; the one-act version was never published, and remains unknown, but has just been made available in a new critical edition published by Ricordi.