How Puccini’s opera La Rondine was caught behind enemy lines

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When Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West premiered in New York in 1910, it shook the audience. In the 25 years since he staged his first opera, Le Villi, in Milan, the composer had firmly established himself with the success of Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, Tosca and eventually Madama Butterfly, which, surprising to think now, had been a bit of a flop when it first performed.

American audiences loved his work and his latest effort was eagerly awaited. La Fanciulla was based, after all, on a Broadway play that set the action at the heart of the California Gold Rush.

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