OP1889. SAKŁNTALA (Alfano), Broadcast Performance, 24 Sept., 1955, w.Basile Cond. RAI Ensemble, Milano; Anna de Cavalieri, Antonio Annaloro, Plinio Clabassi, Giovanni Amodeo, etc.; Anna de Cavalieri: Excerpts from IL PIRATA. (E.U.) 2Myto 00201. Final Copy! - 8014399502016
LA LEGGENDA DI SAKŁNTALA (titled SAKŁNTALA in its revised version) is a three-act opera by Franco Alfano, who wrote his own libretto, basing his work on Kalidasa's 5th-century BC drama. It was first performed at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna on 10 December 1921. The full score and orchestral materials were believed to have been destroyed when an allied bomb damaged the archives of Alfano's publisher Ricordi during World War II, so Alfano reconstructed the opera and it was performed at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome on 5 January 1952 with the shortened title of SAKŁNTALA. During preparations for a revival in Rome in April 2006, a copy of the original 1921 score was discovered in the Ricordi archives, and the opera was performed for the first time in its original form in modern times under its original name, LA LEGGENDA DI SAKŁNTALA. Critically regarded as Alfano's best work, though seldom staged in recent years, the opera was performed seven times for Italian radio between its premiere and 1979. These broadcasts featured such sopranos as Magda Olivero, Anna de Cavalieri, and Celestina Casapietra in the title role.
A native of Aurora, Illinois, Anne McKnight made her official début in 1946, as Musetta in the NBC Symphony's Concert Version of LA BOHČME, with Licia Albanese and Jan Peerce, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Two years later, she sang in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony [above] under the Maestro. McKnight opened the 1952 Fall Season of the New York City Opera, in the title role of TOSCA, followed by the title role in AĻDA, both conducted by Tullio Serafin. In 1953, the soprano sang there again in TOSCA (now led by Julius Rudel), DON GIOVANNI (as Donna Elvira, opposite Walter Cassel), AĻDA again, DER ROSENKAVALIER (as the Marschallin), and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (as the Contessa).
She then began a career in Italy, under the name Anna de Cavalieri, appearing at the Teatro di San Carlo (as Busoni's Turandot and Gluck's Alceste, and as Asteria in Boito's NERONE), Teatro alla Scala (Alfano's CYRANO DE BERGERAC, and as Elena in MEFISTOFELE), Rome Opera, Caracalla (LORELEY), Arena di Verona (AĻDA), and Teatro Regio (Parma). In 1960, the soprano returned to the City Opera, as Anne McKnight, for the professional American premiere of Dallapiccola's IL PRIGIONIERO, opposite Norman Treigle and Richard Cassilly, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Later that season, she sang again the Marschallin with the company. She continued her international career at Rio de Janeiro (Puccini's TURANDOT and TOSCA), Piacenza, Rovigo, Brussels, Cremona (Fedora), Toulouse (NORMA), and, in 1968, Padua (TOSCA). McKnight died on 29 August, 2012, at the age of eighty-eight, at her home in Lugano, Switzerland."
- Zilla Dorset Akron