Mascagni revisited: L'amico Fritz
- Pietro Mascagni L'amico Fritz
Last season the Matinee sounded Mascagni's opera Il piccolo Marat, a true rediscovery. Now the composer of La cavalleria rusticana appears with another unknown work in the opera series: L'amico Fritz, from 1891.
Mascagni's gentle love story
Pietro Mascagni was a contemporary of Puccini. His Cavalleria rusticana is fiercely dramatic and was a major influence on Puccini. In contrast, L'amico Fritz is a gentle love story with tender melodies. In a letter to his publisher, Mascagni wrote: "Fritz gives me hope... What fresh and simple music now flows from my heart! Sometimes I fear that this music of mine is too simple, too naive!" The story is indeed simple: Fritz and his bachelor friends swear off marriage, but the Jewish rabbi David, a marriage broker, unexpectedly pairs him with the beautiful, young Suzel. Eventually they fall into each other's arms. Vocal highlight is the "Cherry duet" from the middle act, in which the two lovers already cautiously approach each other.
Conductor: Andrea Battistoni
For the opening of the final act, Mascagni composed a beautiful musical interlude, which can easily stand comparison with that of the Cavalleria. The premiere of the opera took place in Rome in 1891, with considerable success, and Gustav Mahler conducted the work in Hamburg just one year later. Andrea Battistoni, who previously gloried in the Matinee with Mascagni's Messa di gloria, no doubt drags everyone along again....