Print this post Print this post

Riccardo Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini

Ary Scheffer, "Francesca da Rimini," 1854

Ary Scheffer, “Francesca da Rimini,” 1854

454 words

In 1902, Gabriele D’Annunzio published Francesca da Rimini, a tragedy based on Boccaccio’s elaboration of an episode in Dante’s Inferno.

Francesca was the Daughter of Guido I da Polenta, lord of Ravenna. Around 1275, Francesca was married to Giovanni Malatesta, the son of Malatesta da Verucchio, lord of Rimini. The marriage was arranged to seal a peace between the warring Polenta and Malatesta families. Giovanni was a brave and accomplished man, but he was also a cripple. After the marriage, Francesca fell in love with Paolo, Giovanni’s handsome and healthy younger brother, who was also married. Paolo and Francesca had a ten year affair, until Giovanni caught them in flagrante and killed them both around 1286.

In Dante’s Inferno, Dante meets Francesca and Paolo in the second circle of hell, which is reserved for the lustful. They are trapped for eternity in a whirlwind because they allowed themselves to be swept away by their passions. When Francesca relates her story, Dante faints in pity.

In his Commentary on the Divine Comedy, Giovanni Boccaccio claimed that Francesca had been tricked into marrying Giovanni. Giovanni’s father feared that Francesca would reject her crippled son, so he sent the handsome Paolo in his place, and Francesca only discovered the deception the next morning. The story, of course, seems rather unlikely, if not impossible. (Can one marry by proxy?) And there is no external historical evidence to support it.

But plausibility never stopped a good dramatist. Thus D’Annunzio adapted Boccaccio’s version of the story into a play.

Plausibility never stopped a good opera either. Thus in 1913, the Italian composer Riccardo Zandonai (1883–1944) composed an opera, Francesca da Rimini, based on D’Annunzio’s play.

Zandonai is a little-known composer in the lush, late Romantic tradition of Puccini and Richard Strauss. Francesca is his best-known work. According to Wikipedia, in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Renato Chiesa calls Francesca “one of the most original and polished Italian melodramas of the 20th century, [which] combines a powerful gift for Italian melody . . . with an exceptional command of orchestration.”

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Opera in New York revived Francesca with Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek singing the lead role. On March 16, Francesca was seen in movie theaters around the world in one of the Met’s live HD simulcasts. Next Wednesday, April 3, one can see encore performances in US theaters at 6:30 pm local time. For information about a broacast in your area, click here.

I highly recommend the Met’s Live in HD simulcasts. It is the best way to see opera: the seats are cheaper and more comfortable, the sound quality is excellent, and because of multiple cameras and closeups, you have a better view than any seat in the house.


This entry was posted in North American New Right and tagged , , , , , , , . Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Thomas Orecchia
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Yes, a truly rare opportunity. It last played at the San Francisco War Memorial in 1956!

    For those of us in the Tracy/Stockton/Lodi CA area, it will be showing at the Stockton City Stadium, 222 N. El Dorado St., Stockton.

  2. Stuka Pilot
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    A fine Verisimo opera indeed, which I’ve enjoyed for many years via an old BJR pirate recording, featuring Kabaivanska/Domingo, cond. by Eve Queler. Zandonai’s “Conchita” is also first rate.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.
Comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment, please be patient. If approved, it will appear here soon. Do not post your comment a second time.
Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Our Titles

    White Identity Politics

    The World in Flames

    The White Nationalist Manifesto

    From Plato to Postmodernism

    The Gizmo

    Return of the Son of Trevor Lynch's CENSORED Guide to the Movies

    Toward a New Nationalism

    The Smut Book

    The Alternative Right

    My Nationalist Pony

    Dark Right: Batman Viewed From the Right

    The Philatelist

    Novel Folklore

    Confessions of an Anti-Feminist

    East and West

    Though We Be Dead, Yet Our Day Will Come

    White Like You

    The Homo and the Negro, Second Edition

    Numinous Machines

    Venus and Her Thugs


    North American New Right, vol. 2

    You Asked For It

    More Artists of the Right

    Extremists: Studies in Metapolitics


    The Importance of James Bond

    In Defense of Prejudice

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater (2nd ed.)

    The Hypocrisies of Heaven

    Waking Up from the American Dream

    Green Nazis in Space!

    Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country

    Heidegger in Chicago

    The End of an Era

    Sexual Utopia in Power

    What is a Rune? & Other Essays

    Son of Trevor Lynch's White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    The Lightning & the Sun

    The Eldritch Evola

    Western Civilization Bites Back

    New Right vs. Old Right

    Lost Violent Souls

    Journey Late at Night: Poems and Translations

    The Non-Hindu Indians & Indian Unity

    Baader Meinhof ceramic pistol, Charles Kraaft 2013

    Jonathan Bowden as Dirty Harry

    The Lost Philosopher, Second Expanded Edition

    Trevor Lynch's A White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    And Time Rolls On

    The Homo & the Negro

    Artists of the Right

    North American New Right, Vol. 1

    Some Thoughts on Hitler

    Tikkun Olam and Other Poems

    Under the Nihil

    Summoning the Gods

    Hold Back This Day

    The Columbine Pilgrim

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater

    Taking Our Own Side

    Toward the White Republic

    Distributed Titles


    The Node

    The New Austerities

    Morning Crafts

    The Passing of a Profit & Other Forgotten Stories

    Gold in the Furnace