Lovers of the opera and classical music in general consider Giacomo Puccini among the most revered composers of the 20th century. The creator of such recognized masterpieces as La Bohéme and Madame Butterfly, he was born in Lucca in 1858 and lived most of his short life about 18 kilometers away, in the little town of Torre del Lago between Lago Massaciuccoli and the Tyrrhenian Sea on the beaches of Viareggio along the Tuscan Riviera. Following his death an open-air production of La Bohème was performed at a provisional theater there in 1930, and the resulting magic spawned what is today an annual event, the Puccini Opera Festival held every summer in July and August.
Some of the greatest operatic luminaries in the business—names such as Tito Gobbi, Mario del Monaco, Guiseppe Di Stefano, Luciano Pavorotti, Placido Domingo and Josè Carreras—have showcased their talents in recent years amid the incomparable natural setting of the present-day open-air theater overlooking Lago Massaciuccoli where the festival is staged. It is heaven on earth for any devotee of classical music who happens to be in the Lucca area during the midsummer. Scheduled productions include La Fanciulla del West, La Bohème, Turandot, and Madame Butterfly.
For information contact Fondazione Festival Pucciniano, Piazzale Belvedere Puccini 4, 55048 Torre del Lago Puccini (LU); tel (+39) 0584 350567. For tickets contact Viale Giacomo Puccini 257/a, 55048 Torre del Lago Puccini (LU); tel (+39) 0584 359322. On the Internet visit www.puccinifestival.it.
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