ITALY : An opera in three acts performed with the orchestra and chorus of Theatre Bellini.
Directed by Niksa Bareza
La leggenda di Sakùntala (titled Sakùntala in its revised version) is a three-act opera by Franco Alfano, who wrote his own libretto, basing his work on Kalidasa's 5th-century BC drama Abhijñānaśākuntalam, a very well-known Sanskrit Play. The play dramatizes the story of Shakuntala told in the epic Mahabharata, and is considered to be the best of Kālidāsa's works. Its date is uncertain, but Kālidāsa is often placed in the period between the 1st century BCE and 4th century CE.
It was first performed at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna on 10 December 1921. The full score and orchestral materials were believed to have been destroyed when an allied bomb damaged the archives of Alfano's publisher Ricordi during World War II, so Alfano reconstructed the opera and it was performed at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome on 5 January 1952 with the shortened title of Sakùntala. During preparations for a revival in Rome in April 2006, a copy of the original 1921 score was discovered in the Ricordi archives, and the opera was performed for the first time in its original form in modern times under its original name, La leggenda di Sakùntala. Critically regarded as Alfano's best work, the opera was performed seven times for Italian radio between its premiere and 1979. The opera was also revived at the Wexford Opera Festival in 1982, and will be performed in concert on November 19, 2013 by Teatro Grattacielo, in New York.