Adriana Lecouvreur

Teatro Regio, Tuesday 23 June 2009 - Wednesday 8 July 2009


Micaela Carosi (Adriana) during the last Act

«Among the many works I read in that period, the one by Scribe and Legouvé impressed me the most. The variety of action offering me new and elegant situations, the fusion of play and drama in the eighteenth-century setting (which I know well) and the passionate love of the protagonist touched my heart and sparked my fantasy»: Francesco Cilea explained in this way his reasons for deciding to base an opera on Adrianna Lecouvreur by Eugène Scribe and Ernest-Wilfred Legouvé, a “comedie-drame en cinq actes en prose” inspired by the figure of a real actress of the Comédie-Française, Adriana Lecouvreur (1692 – 1730). Called  “the daughter of love” by Voltaire, she probably died from an internal hemorrhage, though there were those who believed she was poisoned by her rival in love, the Duchess of Bouillon. The play by Scribe and Legouvé debuted in Paris, at the same Comédie-Française on 14 April 1849 and became the favourite role of actresses like Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse: audiences enjoyed the play of theatre within the theatre, the contrast between the world of nobility and the stage,  the eighteenth century recreated with all its political intrigue and cicisbei (Cilea even added a mythological ballet), the unhappy love story between Adriana and Maurizio - all elements that are also found in the opera, which premièred at the Teatro Lirico di Milano on 6 November 1902 with extraordinary success: Angelica Pandolfini was Adriana and Enrico Caruso was Maurizio.

Main data

Composer: Francesco Cilea
Librettist: Arturo Colautti from Eugène Scribe and Ernest-Wilfrid Legouvé
Year of the first performance: 1902 Teatro Lirico, Milano

Previous staging:

1933, 1956, 1962, 1980