Today, 15 December, in the home theater of the Yusupov Palace for the first time in Russia was performed unknown work by the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. The premiere was held in the framework of the section "Music" of IV St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum, led by chief conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg Sergey Stadler.
One of the brightest events within the section was the performance of the concert “Puccini. Scherzo. Unknown score for symphony orchestra. First performance in Russia” by the orchestra of the theatre "Music Hall" "Northern Symphonietta". The orchestra was conducted by the art director of “Music Hall” Fabio Mastrangelo.
The story of discovering «Scherzo» resembles a detective story: an Italian collector sold a music score with Puccini’s autograph on it to the Research center for his heritage in Italy. While the score was being sorted out, two unknown sheets were found. The so-called “Scherzo” was managed to be put together in collaboration with National project on publication of Puccini’s works. Maestro mentioned this work in his letters so the researchers had been aware of its existence. “We had known that such a work existed, but we couldn’t find it, and we supposed it was impossible,” – Fabio Mastrangelo said.
It turned out that it is actually possible. Fabio Mastrangelo has conducted negotiations with Research Center for Giacomo Puccini Studies in Italy where he gained the right of first performance of “Scherzo” in Russia under his conduction. The Italian composer wrote the unique work in his young age, presumably in Milano, where the students at the music academy were offered to compose free fantasia on a given theme.
The opening speech before the concert was held by the chief of Research Center for Giacomo Puccini Studies professor Gabriella Biagi Ravenni and the leader of National project on publication of Puccini’s works, professor Virgilio Bernardoni.
The special guests of Forum spoke about the significance of the great Italian composer’s work, read his letters where “Scherzo” was mentioned and told about the composer’s creative path. “The works we are going to listen to today were composed when Puccini was a student, and the audience is mostly not familiar with them. It was a crucial step for Puccini. For Italy it was the age when music societies were founded in big cities, when the nation composed masterpieces," – professor Virgilio Bernardoni told.
There were other works by the composer apart from “Scherzo” that were performed during the concert: symphonic capriccio, symphonic prelude, intermezzo from the opera “Manon Lescaut”, an aria from the opera “Turandot”. The arias were performed by the lead singers of Mariinsky Theatre, Zhanna Dombrovskaya and Stanislav Leontiev.