Opera in four acts. Libretto by Arturo Colautti based on a play by Eugène Scribe and Gabriel Legouvé. Music by Francesco Cilea. First performed on 26 November 1902 at the Teatro Lirico in Milan.
First performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on 7 May 1903.
Adriana Lecouvreur, premiered in Milan in 1902, is the best-known and most celebrated opera by Francesco Cilea, a member of the Verism school. Based on a French comedy by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé which was enthusiastically received at the Comédie Française in 1849, it recounts the life of a famous actress of that same theatre. The real Adrienne Lecouvreur (1692-1730), considered the finest interpreter of Racine and Corneille of her day, was admired by Voltaire, had a liaison with Marshal Maurice de Saxe and died young, after apparently being poisoned by a rival, the Duchess de Bouillon. Though Arturo Colautti's libretto is confused and somewhat incongruous, the delicate melodic inventiveness of the music and the elegant orchestration make the opera highly attractive. Some passages have become very popular: they include the aria «Io son l'umile ancella» and the final sequence, which is reminiscent of the mad scenes of the Italian operatic tradition. The role of Adriana is a favourite among sopranos with a strong dramatic personality.
Angela Gheorghiu "Io son l'umile ancela".