The Quality of Mercy
Verdi's 'La Forza del Destino',
heard by GIUSEPPE PENNISI
Of Verdi's five operas commissioned by non-Italian theatres, only La Forza del Destino did not follow a different style than those prevailing at that time at La Scala in Milan, at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples or at the Apollo Theatre in Rome. Indeed, this was one of the reasons why at its first performance in St Petersburg in 1862, the opera nearly flopped; the reception was quite cold. Audience and reviewers expected either a comparatively light Italianate comedy or some concessions to the new Russian way to conceive musical theatre. Instead, they got a lugubrious affair where all the principals die on stage in the last Act. In addition, the local musical élite resented Verdi's 22,000 ruble commission: at that time, Russian composers normally commanded a fee of 500 rubles...
Copyright © 1 February 2011