Amico Fritz, L’ (‘Friend Fritz’)
- Peter Ross
Commedia lirica in three acts by Pietro Mascagni to a libretto by P. Suardon (Nicola Daspuro) from Erckmann-Chatrian’s story L’ami Fritz; Rome, Teatro Costanzi, 31 October 1891.
The sensational success of Cavalleria rusticana in 1890 aroused hopes that the precarious state in which Italian opera had existed for some decades was reaching a turning-point. In the next year Mascagni fulfilled those high hopes with L’amico Fritz, consolidating his already international reputation as the most promising composer of the younger generation. The première, hailed as the most important operatic event since that of Otello, was a triumph, and the work immediately had many further performances; it seemed at first that it would be just as successful as Mascagni’s first opera. With Fritz Kobus’s house and estate in Alsace, Mascagni had again chosen a rural setting, but the choice of a sentimental subject in the comédie larmoyante tradition shows that he was deliberately aiming for a contrast with the stark realism of ...