Villi, Le (‘The Willis’)
- Julian Budden
Opera-ballo in two acts by Giacomo Puccini to a libretto by Ferdinando Fontana after Alphonse Karr’s short story Les Willis; Milan, Teatro Dal Verme, 31 May 1884 (revised version, Turin, Teatro Regio, 26 December 1884).
In the Black Forest villagers are celebrating the engagement of Roberto (tenor) and Anna (soprano), daughter of the head forester, Guglielmo (baritone). Roberto is about to leave for Mainz to collect an inheritance. Anna brings him a posy of forget-me-nots to keep him mindful of their vows (‘Se come voi piccina’). In their duet ‘Tu dell’infanzia mia’ he tells her to doubt the existence of God himself rather than his own constancy. All join in a prayer (‘Angiol di Dio’) to speed him on his way....