About the Event
The Valentine's Day Concert 'Opera and Ballet' offers couples the opportunity to celebrate their love with a romantic concert of opera and dance in the marvelous Auditorium Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
The most suggestive Opera arias by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and other renowned romantic composers, performed by masterful soprano and tenor voices, are enriched by charming choreographies featuring classical dancers. The melodies of a Chamber Ensemble, consisting of strings and piano, will delight the public with the magic of Opera and Ballet in the most romantic day of the year.
- Petr Iljič Čajkovskij – Walzer, da La Bella Addormentata
- Gioachino Rossini – The Barber of Seville (Rossini) – 'Una voce poco fa', from Il Barbiere di Siviglia
- Giuseppe Verdi – Rigoletto – 'La donna è mobile', from Rigoletto
- Giuseppe Verdi – La Traviata – 'Parigi o cara', from La Traviata
- Petr Iljič Čajkovskij – Waltzer dei fiori, da Lo Schiaccianoci
- Giacomo Puccini – Tosca – 'Recondita armonia' from Tosca
- Giacomo Puccini – La Bohème – “La Bohème”, ”Quando men vò” per Soprano
- -not set- – interval
- Petr Iljič Čajkovskij – La morte del cigno, da Il Lago dei Cigni
- Gaetano Donizetti – So anch’io la virtù magica from Don Pasquale
- Giuseppe Verdi – Rigoletto – Ella mi fu rapita from Rigoletto
- Giuseppe Verdi – Aida – Balletto dei piccoli schiavi mori from Aida
- Gaetano Donizetti – L’Elisir d’amore, « Caro elisir… », duo d’Adina et Nemorino
- Vincenzo Bellini – Norma, Cavatina of Norma „Casta Diva“
- Georges Bizet – from Carmen, L’amour est un oiseau rebelle, La fleur que tu m’avais jeteè
- Giuseppe Verdi – La Traviata – 'Libiamo ne' lieti calici', from La Traviata
Cast / Production
Soprano: Valentina Rugolo
Tenor: Leonardo Sgroi
Dancers: Martina Maiani, Giacomo Fabbio, Edoardo Zanobini
Grand Piano: Beatrice Bartoli
Violin: Pino Tedeschi
Double Bass: Antonio Lipari
Coreographer: Donatella Cantagallo
Direction: Antonio Lipari
Auditorium di Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio
The Auditorium of Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio is located in the heart of Florence, right next to the famous Ponte Vecchio. Now used as a concert venue, the church dates to 1116, and is considered one of the oldest churches in the city. A mixture of architectural styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic and Baroque combine to create a unique stage for cultural and musical performances. Decorated with numerous exceptional works of art, the Rennaissance-era crucifix and the medieval style crypt are also notable. Despite extensive damage during the Second World War and the 1996 flood, many of the artworks were rescued and kept in very good condition. During a recent restoration (1993), a 15th century fresco from the school of Botticelli school was discovered. Reopened as a venue for cultural and musical activities, Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio is now a key part of artistic life in Florence thanks to its beautifully decorated interior and perfect acoustics.
Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian opera composer. From a young age, he developed a musical education with the help of a patron and soon dominated the Italian opera. In fact by his 30s, he became one of the most influential opera composer all over the classical scene. His most famous operas are Il Trovatore, Rigoletto and La Traviata. Furthermore, he was able to establish himself as a landowner with the income from his successful operas and focus on his private life. However, he soon returned to the scene with his new popular work Aida (1871), and three masterpieces: Otello, Requiem and Falstaff.
Georges Bizet devoted his relatively short life of 36 years to the musical theatre. The opera Carmen, pearl of his oeuvre, is still one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. He was born in 1838 into a musically educated family – his father was a singing teacher and his mother a professional piano player. At the age of 4, young George could already read notes and play the piano, and six years later he became enrolled at the Paris Conservatory. After finishing his studies, Bizet won the prestigious Prix de Rome for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde, that allowed him to work solely on his own compositions for five years. He spent four rather carefree years in Italy from 1857 to 1860 where he travelled, composed and developed his talent. After coming back to Paris, he faced struggles and found it very difficult to achieve recognition for his music. In order to make a living, he gave private lessons, composed light entertaining music and made arrangements of piano works by other composers. In fact, he could have easily become a successful pianist as he was a virtuoso piano player and once impressed Franz Liszt himself with the performance of one of Liszt’s piano compositions. But Georges Bizet did not look for a way to make easy money and was adamant about his intention to only compose music. In 1872 he wrote two operas, Djamileh and L’Arlesienne, which were received very coldly but now are considered to be a representation of Bizet’s artistic maturity. Soon before his death in 1875, Carmen premiered in the Opera Comique, but the audience’s verdict was rather negative. Never having witnessed public acclaim during his life, George Bizet now is one of the most famous opera composers in history.
Giacomo Puccini was an Italian opera composer of the late 19th century. He was considered one of the greatest composers of the Italian Opera, second only to Verdi. His early works were characterised by features of the traditional 19th century romantic Italian opera. Later, his style developed into the realistic verismo style, which inspired him to write his most famous masterpieces and became one of the leading exponents of the style. His most renowned works La bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), and Turandot (1924), all are popular operas played in the most prestigious venues of the classical world.
Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer of the 19th century. He made his debut at the age of 18 and soon became one the most popular opera composer in history. His best known operas are The Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia), The Italian Girl in Algiers (L'italiana in Algeri), and Cinderella (La Cenerentola). In general, his style can be defined as song-like melodic which earned him the nickname of "the Italian Mozart”. Later on he became famous for his exciting buildup of orchestral sound over a repeated phrase, which is now known as a "Rossini crescendo”.
Gaetano Donizetti was an Italian composer of the early 19th century. He was one of the leading composers of the bel canto opera style along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini. Over the course of his career, Donizetti wrote almost 70 operas both comic and serious. His first notable success came with a serious opera, Zoraida di Granata, which was presented in 1822 in Rome. As a result, he made a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene and shifted the attention to opera seria (noble and "serious" style operas). However, his best-known works include comedies such as L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843).