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Giacomo Puccini

Joseph Calleja on the genius of Puccini

Joseph Calleja © Simon Fowler | Decca
“Everything you hear about me is true!” Joseph Calleja reflects on taking on the role of Cavaradossi as well as discussing other Puccini roles and the way his voice has developed. 

Bryan Hymel on doing the verismo double

Bryan Hymel © Dario Acosta
Hymel’s career-defining moment came in 2012 when he replaced Jonas Kaufmann a new production of Les Troyens. His career hasn't looked back since. 

Ermonela Jaho on her heartbreaking soprano roles

Ermonela Jaho © Fadil Berisha
Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho is renowned for heartfelt performances as some of opera's most tortured soprano roles, especially Violetta in La traviata, the opera in which she sprang to fame in London when she jumped in for an indisposed Anna Netrebko. 
Fact file
Year of birth1858
Year of death1924
NationalityItaly
PeriodRomantic
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BarcelonaManon LescautNew production

Gregory Kunde (Des Grieux) and Liudmyla Monastyrska (Manon) © A. Bofill
Puccini: Manon Lescaut
Emmanuel Villaume; Davide Livermore; Gran Teatre del Liceu; Giusi Giustino; Liudmyla Monastyrska; Gregory Kunde

ViennaTosca

Puccini: Tosca
Marco Armiliato; Margarethe Wallmann; Vienna State Opera; Nicola Benois; Catherine Naglestad; Aleksandrs Antonenko; Stefano Secco

BarcelonaManon LescautNew production

Manon Lescaut
Puccini: Manon Lescaut
Emmanuel Villaume; Davide Livermore; Gran Teatre del Liceu; Giusi Giustino; Maria Pia Piscitelli; Jorge de Léon

GlyndebourneMadama ButterflyNew production

Olga Busuioc (Cio-Cio San) © Robbie Jack
Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Omer Meir Wellber; Annilese Miskimmon; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Benjamin Glassberg; Nicky Shaw; Olga Busuioc

LeipzigTurandot

Turandot
Puccini: Turandot
Matthias Foremny; Balázs Kovalik; Oper Leipzig; Heike Scheele; Sebastian Ellrich; Jennifer Wilson; Derek Taylor
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La bohème at ROH: a simple tragedy, heart-rendingly told

Maria Agresta (Mimì), Matthew Polenzani (Rodolfo) in Act 4 © ROH | Catherine Ashmore
A committed cast make this  a beautifully performed ensemble piece in which the tragedy of young love cut short by untimely disease is compellingly put across.
****1
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A forlorn Manon Lescaut arrives in Barcelona

Gregory Kunde (Des Grieux) and Liudmyla Monastyrska (Manon) © A. Bofill
Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu stages Puccini’s first great success as an operatic composer, Manon Lescaut with the stage direction of Davide Livermore. 
***11
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Tears on the picnic lawn: Madama Butterfly at Glyndebourne

Olga Busuioc (Cio-Cio San) © Robbie Jack
After dipping its toe in the cherry blossom for Glyndebourne's Tour in 2016, Annilese Miskimmon's staging of Puccini's gut-wrencher hits the main festival.
***11
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Eyvazov a magnificent Cavardossi in Philadelphia

Jennifer Rowley (Tosca) and Ambrogio Maestri (Scarpia) © Jessica Griffin | Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra's superb semi-staged production of Tosca
*****
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Opera Australia’s Tosca highlights the tyranny of evil Scarpia

Marco Vratogna (Scarpia) © Jeff Busby
Remarkable singers and magnificent sets successfully transpose Puccini’s Tosca to Nazi-occupied Rome, bringing home the horror of tyranny and how possible it is to occur.
****1
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