Discover Pietro Mascagni’s ‘Iris’
|Rising Star James Darrah Directs This Summer’s Rare Staging of Pietro Mascagni’s Iris, Forerunner to Puccini’s Madama Butterfly|
This summer’s fully staged production of Pietro Mascagni’s all-too-rarely performed opera, Iris, reveals an otherwise obscure link between Mascagni and his rival composer Giacomo Puccini. Luigi Illica wrote the libretto for both Mascagni’s Iris, which debuted in 1898, and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which had its premiere six years later. Illica’s librettos explore similar narratives: tragedies of innocence betrayed in fin-de-siécle Japan.
In director James Darrah‘s words, Illica and Mascagni’s collaboration is “dark, violent and truly expressionistic. An evocatively abstract libretto pairs with staggering orchestral writing, imbuing the piece with an otherworldly scope.”