Saturday at 11:00 AM (earlier than usual)
“I love her passion and tremendous love. The moment leading up to the kiss in the third act is just unbelievable.”
Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek (Francesca)
A husband, a wife and his brother–what could be more simple, more gut-wrenching or seductive? It’s been over 700 years since Giovanni Maletesta slayed his wife as she lay in his brother’s arms, yet the unhappy trio seem fated to relive their circumstance through the hands of Dante, Ingres, Rodin, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Rachmaninoff and dozens of others. It is a tale about love, sex, murder, devotion, betrayal, humiliation, despair–all the things that sell romance novels today–but it really happened.
Francesca was the daughter of the lord of Ravenna (present-day home to Chicago’s own Riccardo Muti). She lived at the same time as the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri, who took what must have reached his ears as local gossip, and wove it into his masterpiece The Divine Comedy. Exiled from Florence, Dante died in 1321 and is buried in Ravenna near the 5th century Church of San Francesco.
The present version of Francesca da Rimini starts at 11:00 AM on Saturday, an opera by Riccardo Zandonai (1883-1944), broadcast LIVE from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.