PUCCINI: ultimo atto (last act)
Blog 4 – 20 April 2018
Above is the poster that was displayed outside the Teatro San Girolamo advertising the production Puccini: ultimo atto. Teatro San Girolamo is the small theatre that lies behind Lucca’s main theatre, the Teatro Giglio. This small theatre and auditorium of San Girolamo utilises the old deconsecrated 15th century Jesuit church of the same name. In the lunette above the portal in Via San Girolamo is a polychrome terracotta representation of the Madonna and Child between Saints Peter and Girolamo that is dated the beginning of the 14th century and a Latin inscription dated 1440.
For one night only La compagnia teatrale “La Ribalta” di Gallicano (the theatre company “The Limelight” of Gallicano) were putting on Puccini: ultimo atto. Gallicano is a small commune or municipality about sixteen miles north-west of Lucca situated in the Serchio valley on the route to Barga. After buying my entrance ticket, I was shown to seat number two in the front row and was set to enjoy the performance made up of several vignettes.
The opening scene – Old Giacomo with Elvira discussing the letter from the doctor, he is suffering a bad cough etc and frustrated with his progress on Turandot
Interview with pretty newspaper journalist
Young Giacomo is shown in poverty with his lover Elvira
Giacomo meets Ricordi the music publisher and loyal supporter
Breakthrough with Manon Lescaut, a great success in Berlin, Paris, London – financially secure
Meets and collaborates with librettists G. Giacosa and L. Illica
2 arias from La Boheme, 2 arias from Tosca, 1 aria from Madama Butterfly
Death of old Puccini with Toscanini
Finale O mio Babbino Caro from Gianni Schicchi
Although the main cast members are pictured above, there was over twenty actors who took their applause for what was an extremely moving portrayal of some of the main events in Puccini’s life played by talented local actors. At one point during the performance the Old Puccini sat in the audience in seat one on the front row – next to me – a delightful evening, Bravi!!