- Julian Budden
Dramma lirico in three acts (originally four acts) by Giacomo Puccini to a libretto by Ferdinando Fontana after Alfred de Musset’s dramatic poem La coupe et les lèvres; Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 21 April 1889 (definitive version, Buenos Aires, Teatro de la Opera, 8 July 1905).
Puccini’s first full-length opera, commissioned by Ricordi to a libretto by the author of Le villi, Edgar was first given under Franco Faccio with Gregorio Gabrielesco as Edgar (tenor), Pio Marini as Gualtiero (bass), Antonio Magini-Coletti as Frank (baritone), Aurelia Cataneo-Caruson as Fidelia (soprano) and Romilda Pantaleoni as Tigrana (soprano). It was coolly received and ran for only three performances. Of various revivals projected over the next two years the only one to materialize took place at Puccini’s native town, Lucca, where it enjoyed great success. Nonetheless the composer decided to suppress the last act, grafting the sensational denouement on to Act 3, transferring the prelude in shortened form to the beginning of Act 1 and assigning some of Fidelia’s music to Tigrana, now a mezzo-soprano, in Act 2. Further modifications followed, including the suppression of the prelude, leading to the definitive version of ...