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Enjoying The Opera Guided By Experts

The Puccini Festival

Villa Puccini

Teatro dei Quattromila


The Puccini Festival is based in the small town of Torre del Lago very close to 'Villa Puccini'. The composer built the house in 1900 close to lake Lago di Massaciuccoli, where he could indulge his favourite sport of shooting. If you visit Villa Puccini you will see many photographs of these exploits together with a large collection of memorabilia which give a real flavour of the time. Puccini was indeed buried in the house and you can see the small mausoleum dedicated to him.

The Puccini festival takes place in July and August and presents about four opera performances within this period, not exclusively by Puccini. However, his operas do feature most prominently in the programme.

The performances are performed in a huge open-air theatre: Teatro dei Quattromila which despite its name seats 3,200! The whole idea about the Puccini festival was started in 1930 by Giovacchino Forzano, one of Puccini's librettists, and the composer Pietro Mascagni who was a former student friend of Puccini's. These early years saw Benjamin Gigli singing in 'La Boheme'. It was in 1934 that the official festival was dated.

The Puccini festival today is a large-scale affair but it was not until the 1990's that the festival achieved its present form. The crowds who attend it have the atmospheric lake to view before the performance and a large area to promenade around with wonderful views of the lake and the sunset behind it. We provide an opportunity for our group to see Villa Puccini with its entire delightful memorabilia associated with the composer.

The stage is large and therefore such scenes as the 'Victory Mass' in the early part of "Tosca" or the scene at the Cafe Momus in "La Boheme" have tremendous visual impact as well as great musical power. Some great singers have appeared at the Puccini festival such as Titto Gobbi as Scarpia and as a director. Placido Domingo was the conductor for Madame Butterfly in 2004 - the centenary of its first performance where Daniela Dessi was Butterfly and Fabio Armiliato was Pinkerton.

The theatre has a large reception hall and is well equipped for refreshments. In fact the whole well-designed complex is an ideal way to see these great operas.


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