Personalities | Francesco Cilea | Modern Era | Classical

(Fran-chas’-ko Che-la’-a) 1866–1950
Italian composer

Although Francesco Cilea is usually classified as one of the verismo (‘realist’) school of music, of his two well-known operas only L’Arlesiana (‘The Woman of Arles’, 1897), based on Alphonse Daudet’s story of obsessive love set in a peasant community in southern France, really answers to that description. His other opera, more famous, is Adriana Lecouvreur (1902) and this piece does not fit the verismo style; its heroine is a famous eighteenth-century actress, jealously murdered with a poisoned bunch of violets. Both echo Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) in style, with an almost cinematic sense of timing and with striking stage pictures.

Recommended Recording:
Adriana Lecouvreur, soloists, Santa Cecilia Academy Chorus and Orchestra (cond) Franco Capuana (Decca)

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