Vienna Opera Tickets

    Adriana Lecouvreur, Opera by Francesco Cilea

    Adriana Lecouvreur, Opera by Francesco Cilea

    Adriana Lecouvreur is an account in music of the circumstances that led to the suspected murder of a star of the Comédie-Française. Verismo prides itself on its realism, but rarely are its operas based on a true story.

    Francesco Cilea’s most popular work took its inspiration from the well-documented career and death of Adrienne Lecouvreur, a celebrated actress of the early eighteenth century. Her performances were a revelation. She brought a realism to the parts she played that had rarely been seen before her.

    Premiered at the Teatro Lirico in Milan on 6 November 1902, Adriana Lecouvreur demands contributions from performers who are as skilled as actors as they are singers. Its central roles of Adriana, Maurizio and the Princess de Bouillon are amongst the most challenging in the repertoire, craved by artists determined to test their mettle.

    Adriana and the Princess de Bouillon are rivals in love. The object of their desires is Maurizio, whom Adriana assumes to be a soldier but who is actually the Count of Saxony.


    The plot hinges on the moment when the Princess implores Adriana to distract her husband just as he is about to discover her infidelity. Instead she recites a monologue, from Racine’s Phèdre, clearly implicating the Princess in her affair with Maurizio and filling her opponent’s head with thoughts of vengeance.

    In an opera where spoken dialogue is used to great dramatic effect, the arias really have to stand out to grab our attention. While Adriana’s “Io son l'umile ancella” and “Poveri Fiori” are probably the best-known in the work, audiences at the Vienna State Opera this season may find it is the Princess’ “Acerba voluttà” that steals the show — the point at which she discovers Adriana’s gift of violets to Maurizio and ultimately the device by which she obtains her opponent’s demise.

    image Vienna State Opera / A&A Tickets Online / Julius Silver