Changing, and Staying the Same

Mar 21, 2022 236


By pure coincidence, two American operas based on classic Italian novels had their premieres about five weeks apart. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis premiered in New York on January 27; The Leopard premiered in Miami on March 5. Having discussed the first opera elsewhere, I will concentrate on the second here — but they have a connection.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote his novel, The Leopard, from 1954 to 1956. He could not find a publisher. He died in ’57. Elena Croce (daughter of Benedetto) gave the manuscript to her friend Giorgio Bassani — who would come out with his book The Garden of the Finzi-Continis in 1962. Bassani saw to it that the Feltrinelli house published The Leopard. This novel became classic almost immediately.

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