For the seasonal opening of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, acclaimed stage director Leo Muscato rediscovered a precious rarity of the 20th century: The “musical fairytale” La bella dormente nel bosco (The Sleeping Beauty) by Ottorino Respighi, which had not been staged for 50 years, and which Muscato revived in a “brilliant, surprising and colourful” staging (La Stampa). Indeed, Respighi put a lot of passion and effort into "La bella dormente", which is based on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale of the same name. Originally, the piece was conceived as a puppet show, written by Respighi for the Italian marionettist Vittorio Podrecca, director of the famous marionette company Teatro dei Piccoli (Theatre for Children). It was premiered at the Teatro Odescalchi in Rome in 1922. The numerous roles were all interpreted by marionettes and only accompanied by orchestra and singers, who took several roles at once. The production became such a big hit that it went on world tour. Respighi revised his opera two times. The second version, featuring mime artists and dancers instead of marionettes, was put on stage in 1934. A third, posthumous version, completed by Respighi’s wife Elsa, was performed in a concertante version in 1967 in Turin. In the present production of the Teatro Lirico, the prestigious cast of young singers and the enthusiasm shown by Donato Renzetti – who “conducts the orchestra with apparent love for Respighi’s music” (Der Opernfreund) – make their contribution to a “splendid Respighi-Rennaissance” (La Stampa).
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