La Boheme revisited! Puccini at Torre del Lago

Villa Collina Del Sole WED Mag Full Article. WEBSITEOpera in Italy is part of the cultural fibre, we have just stayed in our favourite Lucca villa rental called La Collina del Sole set in the midst of holiday Villas in Lucca hub and, as we love Opera al fresco we drove to Torre del Lago where Puccini the famous Italian composer had a summer residence, Before we rent a villa in Tuscany we consulted the blog of La Collina del Sole full of useful advice. The Festival Puccini is a most for opera lovers who are staying in a villa for rent in Tuscany, the festival is held in the Gran Teatro all’Aperto Giacomo Puccini, in Via delle Torbiere, 55048 Torre del Lago in the province of Lucca tel. (+39) 0584 359322 or e-mail: The Festival stage and auditorium in Torre del Lago were renovated a few years ago, we had Boheme-poster1seen La Bohéme in the weeks before the grand renovation was scheduled so we were very curious as to what changes we might find since we had visited villa rentals in Tuscany last. There are improvements, the auditorium building is much larger with a well- designed space underneath that houses interesting art exhibitions, a café where you can get a coffee a sandwich or pizza slice, another great improvement is a Tuscan fare buffet which needs to be booked before the performance either on the day or beforehand for €23, it includes unlimited wine and water the buffet consists of a rich variety of light Tuscan food like local cold meats and pecorino cheese of different flavours, pappa all pomodoro [a cold tomato soup made with bread which sounds weird and tastes amazing], faro, cold rice with asparagus and funghi porcini, mozzarella and tomato salad and fresh fruit, this is all served in the garden opposite the stage. If you are on a budget you can buy a ticket for the opera with as little as €19.50 and bring your own picnic to eat on tables set out or the grass, if you prefer doing things in style there is a fabulous restaurant torre-del-lago-5on the waterfront called Chalet in the Piazzale Belvedere telephone # 0584 359830 they are well known for their fish themed food, the prices are reasonable considering it is the top dining spot in the area, it has the most wonderful views and merits a visit on its own without the rush of a performance about to start. It took us a little longer to arrive as the signposts to the venue have not improved in over a decade showing tantalizing sporadic signs that disappear in the middle of a roundabout, next time we will allow a good 2 rather than 1 ¼ hours to get there in order to drink in the gentle beauty of the festival grounds. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the Festival Pucciniano with Tourandot, la Bohéme, and Madame Butterfly, we chose La Bohéme as it seemed fitting to revisit the venue with the same opera that we had last seen performed before the grand facelift and importantly this production boasted a set created by Ettore Scole a famous Italian film maker. The stage is much larger now which allows for spectacular sets, however the la-bohc3a8me-festival-puccini-2014-1charming backdrop of the lake is mainly lost. The singing was excellent the set spectacular with clever effects. There were a few drops of light rain that stopped the performance twice, the last one in the death throes of Mimi, exactly as had happened to us a decade earlier where poor old Mimi had to nearly expire 3 times with light rain stopping the performance, it is rather unusual to see the heroine get up in fine health waving and smiling straight after a death throw song… three times, the reason given was also strangely familiar as the instruments are very susceptible to light drizzle, I did think that an opportunity was wasted in not creating a cover for the orchestra pit, mind you I suppose it all adds to the charm of living “Italian style” where time is of little consequence, where performances and audiences saunter elegantly in, fashionably late, and where you can have the most magical lake side walks in the interval and watch Italian opera for as little as €19.50 for further information visit