Adriana Lecouvreur

Adriana Lecouvreur

Adriana Lecouvreur

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Adriana Lecouvreur is an opera in four acts by Francesco Cilea to an Italian libretto by Arturo Colautti, based on the play by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé. It was first performed on 6 November 1902 in Milan.

History

The same play by Scribe and Legouvé which served as a basis for Cilea's librettists was also used by at least three different librettists for operas carrying exactly the same name, Adriana Lecouvreur, and created by three different composers. The first was opera in three acts by Tommaso Benvenuti (premiered in Milan in 1857). The next two were lyric dramas in 4 acts by Edoardo Vera (to a libretto by Achille de Lauzières) which premiered in Lisbon in 1858, and by Ettore Perosio (to an anonymous libretto) premiered in Geneva in 1889. After Cilea created his own Adriana, however, none of those by others were performed anymore and they remain largely unknown today.

The opera is based on the life of the French actress Adrienne Lecouvreur (1692–1730). While there are some actual historical figures in the opera, the episode it recounts is largely fictional, its death-by-poisoned violets plot device often signalled as verismo opera's least realisticHowever, for the reference on how widespread in the 18th century problem of poisoning was one could read the chapter on the "Slow Poisoners" within Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay (pp. 565-592).. It is often...
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