Iris


Image by Cory Weaver

Composed by Pietro Mascagni
Libretto by Luigi Illica
American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by James Darrah

Composed by Puccini’s friend Pietro Mascagni (perhaps best known for his beloved Cavalleria rusticana), Iris debuted in Rome in 1898, ushering in a wave of fin-de-siècle exotic opera. Mascagni’s dreamlike score provides the backdrop for Luigi Illica’s haunting libretto recounting the tragic story of Iris, an innocent young girl tricked into abandoning her elderly blind father and lured to a brothel in Tokyo’s notorious red-light district.

The stellar cast is headlined by Grammy-nominated soprano Talise Trevigne, lauded for her “deep melting sound” (New York Times) as the vulnerable Iris. Austrian Australian tenor Gerard Schneider sings the role of the fickle Osaka, and bass-baritone Douglas Williams portrays the villainous Kyoto. 

Conducted by the “peerlessly adventurous” (New York Times) Leon Botstein, this production by talented young stage director James Darrah features set designs by Emily MacDonald and Cameron Jaye Mock, with projections by Adam Larsen and costumes by Peabody Southwell—all of which combine to highlight the darker themes of this rarely performed opera. 

Performed in Italian with English supertitles.