ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Those looking to experience one of Italian opera's hidden gems can do so without booking a flight. Bard College's SummerScape celebration will host a rare performance of Pietro Mascagni's Iris at the school's scenic Hudson Valley campus later this month.
A contemporary of Giacomo Puccini, who is the centerpiece of this year's summer festival, Mascagni was best known for his one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana which was written in 1889. By contrast, Iris, which was written in 1898, is rarely staged and has not been seen at the Metropolitan Opera for 85 years despite the show's initial success.
Mascagni’s dreamlike score provides the backdrop for Luigi Illica’s haunting libretto recounting the tragic story of Iris, an innocent young girl tricked into abandoning her elderly blind father and lured to a brothel in Tokyo’s notorious red-light district.
The production has been called “bewitchingly lovely” and a long overdue 1997 revival at London’s Opera Holland Park proved so popular that it was immediately remounted the following year. Like Madama Butterfly, which it preceded by six years, Iris is a product of the “japonisme” movement then sweeping Europe.
Headlining Bard’s first-rate cast is Grammy-nominated soprano Talise Trevigne and several world renown singers.
Iris will be performed from July 22 to 31, and tickets can be purchased here.