Forty years ago (8 Sep 1971) the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts was officially opened in Washington, D.C. Today, it is the nation’s leading performing arts facility, hosting approximately 2,000 performances annually for millions of patrons. From September 10 – 24, The Kennedy Centre will celebrate its ruby jubilee by featuring Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, the passionate tale of a beautiful opera diva who tries to save her lover’s life by sacrificing her own. Plácido Domingo conducts this timeless classic.
Italy, the birthplace of opera, celebrates the renaissance of a performing arts museum on Tuesday, September 13 2011 in Lucca: Casa natale di Giacomo Puccini. Located at corte San Lorenzo 8, the Puccini museum is the documented birthplace of the operatic composer. Authentic memorabilia from Puccini’s life will be on display, including the bed upon which he was born, the clothes he wore, the letters he wrote, and the piano from which he created his music. Prior to the grand opening event, the nearby Teatro del Giglio will host free concerts, including pianist Michele Campanella’s performance on Puccini’s treasured Steinway.
Puccini is a beloved composer, famous for music written in three-quarter time. His arias were heard world-wide on America’s Got Talent as Jackie Evancho progressed to the competition’s finals in 2010. One of his arias, “O mio babbino caro” has some 19 million [combined] views on a couple of YouTube clips of Evancho.
Through October 24, Puccini’s grand opera “La bohème” will be performed at the magnificent Sydney Opera House, a cultural icon visited by 7 million people each year. The Sydney production has been re-imagineered and given a Weimar era Berlin setting. For people who have never seen an opera, anything by Puccini is usually a good choice. ETN will be on site to report patron reactions.
Even the lesser-known performing arts center are celebrating Puccini: The Actors’ Guild’s Readers’ Theatre presents “The Maestro’s Woman” on Friday and Saturday, September 23rd & 24th at 7:30 p.m. at the Dole Cannery complex in Honolulu. This play, by Jan Shiarella McGrath, is a drama of love and music: the passionate life of Elvira Puccini—tender, ﬁery, vindictive— with composer Giacomo Puccini. ETN attended the very first performance of the Reader’s Theatre earlier this year, in May, when Fran and Wayne Ward starred in “The Enchanting Tourists,” an excellent telling of visiting Victorian era Hawaii, as recorded in the memoirs of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Frances Matilda Van de Grift Osbourne Stevenson.
For information on the new Birthplace of Giacomo Puccini Museum, kindly visit http://bit.ly/puccini2011
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