Giordano's best-known work was a hit from its first performance at La Scala, Milan, in 1896. Like Puccini and Mascagni, Giordano was holding up a mirror to the world, showing everyday life, warts and all, in the new style of writing dubbed verismo. His much-loved score, peppered with instantly memorable arias, conveys both the lushness of late 19th-century musical taste, and also the aristocratic forms of the 18th century in which it is set.
Andrea Chénier's first London performance was at the Camden Theatre in 1903, and the title role became a favourite for generations of lyric tenors, including Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.
Tenor Roberto Alagna appeared at the Royal Opera in 'L'Elisir d'Amore' in 2017, with his soprano wife Aleksandra Kursak. Photo: Catherine Ashmore
The plot is based on the true story of the French poet André Chénier, who competes with a servant, Carlo Gérard, for the love of Maddalena, a young aristocrat. When Chénier protects Maddalena he provokes Gérard’s jealousy, with dangerous results.
Returning to Covent Garden in the title role of David McVicar's highly-praised production, is the French-born Italian tenor Roberto Alagna. A real Covent Garden favourite, his many roles for the Royal Opera House in the past include the artist Cavaradossi in the production of Puccini's Tosca that also returns this spring.
As Maddalena is the tremendous American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, with Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias as the jealous Carlo.
Daniel Oren conducts the Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
'Andrea Chénier' is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Booking opens 9AM, Wed 30 Jan
|What||Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
20 May 19 – 09 Jun 19, seven performances; times vary. Running time 2hr 45min, including interval
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|