Highlights of Verdi's Luisa Miller this week on The Lyric Stage.
Anna Moffo, Carlo Bergonzi and Cornell MacNeil head the cast in one of Verdi's early operas.
Thjs week we present excerpts from Luisa Miller, one of the last operas of Giuseppe Verdi's early period, a time in his life he called his galley years, a time of development that led to his breakthrough with the threesome of Rigoletto, Traviata and Trovatore shortly after the premiere of Luisa Miller.
But to describe those early years of Verdi's composition as a time of development or his own term "the galley years" is to risk underating these early operas. Luisa Miller is a wonderful opera.
The Opera tells the story of the son of the Count Walter, Rodolfo, and Rodolfo's arranged marriage to his duchess cousin. However, he loves the poor country girl from the village, Luisa Miller, and disguises himself as a peasant in order to be with her. When his father the Count finds out, great lengths are taken to prevent the young lovers from being together. Lies and deceit abound and love is lost. Rodolfo thinks Luisa has betrayed him, so he tricks her and they drink poison, and then die together, but not before he realizes she was forced into the "betraying him" and that her fidelity never wavered.
The recording of Luisa Miller we have for this program is from 1964 and features Anna Moffo, Carlo Bergonzi and Cornell MacNeil. Fausto Cleva conducts the RCA Italiana Orchestra and Chorus.