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This 'concert biography', as director Sam Morgan dubbed it in a pre-concert talk, touched on the highlights of Puccini's long career. Script writer Kelly Ferjutz managed to boil down Puccini's letters and life into a version that lightly touched on scandal (all those women!), without neglecting the volatile composer's energy in things both musical and otherwise. Actor Kelly Holt played an elderly Puccini recalling his life -- justifying a few things, glossing over others -- in the fashion a man not overburdened by regret might do. Although the dialogue suffered at times from a weak sound system, a previously-recorded section (Puccini reading a letter 'silently' to himself) allowed us to hear the composer 'directly'. Ferjutz noted later that she had taken 75% of the script directly from letters or memoirs of Puccini and his friends to achieve what turned out to be an authentic voice for the composer.

Madeline Abel-Kerns sings 'Un bel di' from 'Madama Butterfly', with J R Fralick. Photo © 2008 Kelly Ferjutz
Madeline Abel-Kerns sings 'Un bel di' from 'Madama Butterfly', with J R Fralick. Photo © 2008 Kelly Ferjutz

 

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Copyright © 3 February 2008 Laura Kennelly, Ohio, USA

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Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.