OP0619. MADAME SANS-GÊNE (Giordano), Live Performance, 28 Feb., 1967, w.Gavazzeni Cond.La Scala Ensemble; Orianna Santunione, Franco Tagliavini, Renato Capecchi, Alvinio Misciano, Mario Zanasi, etc. (Italy) 2-Nuova Era 2387/88, w.Elaborate 59pp Libretto-Brochure in Italian . Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“MADAME SANS-GÊNE is Umberto Giordano’s opera about a laundress who becomes a duchess whose manners are not much appreciated at the court of Napoleon I. Once wildly popular, it quickly died during the 1920s, largely because it had been a starring role of soprano Geraldine Farrar who retired from the stage in 1922. I still remember the photo of Farrar as Sans-Gêne in the Victor Book of the Opera, standing at an ironing board and grinning into the camera with a psychotic stare like a deer caught in the headlights. MADAME SANS-GÊNE is not a masterpiece like his ANDREA CHÉNIER or another opera it resembles, Cilea’s ADRIANA LECOUVREUR , but it’s by no means bad. Overall, Giordano was a better composer than Ciléa, but Ciléa hit his stride with ADRIANA while for Giordano, MADAME SANS-GÊNE seems a well-crafted piece that just failed to gel. The music is archetypal verismo, pleasantly tuneful (but not treacly), harmonically tonal, and conventional. One of the most impressive passages in the whole score is the orchestral prelude to the third act, which builds from soft cello and woodwind murmurs to dramatic climaxes. It’s a much better opera, overall, than Ciléa’s L’ARLESIANA or Leoncavallo’s ZAZA."
- Lynn René Bayley, FANFARE