Catalani : La WallyBregen, 1990 (Video)
Director: Pinchas Steinberg
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La Wally is a four-act opera by Alfredo Catalani, composed on a libretto by Luigi Illica, and first performed at La Scala, Milan on 20 January 1892.
The libretto is based on a hugely successful Heimatroman by Wilhelmine von Hillern (1836-1916), Die Geyer-Wally, Eine Geschichte aus den Tyroler Alpen (literally: "The Vulture-Wally: A Story from the Tyrolean Alps"). The Geyer-Wally is a girl with some heroic attributes. Wally is short for the name Wallburga. (There may have been an actual young woman Wallburga Stromminger on whom the legend is based.) She gets her 'geyer' or 'vulture' epithet from once stealing a vulture's hatchling from her nest. Von Hillern's piece was originally serialized in Deutsche Rundschau, and was reproduced in English in "A German Peasant Romance", in The Cornhill Magazine, July 1875.
The opera is best known for its aria "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" (Act I, sung when Wally decides to leave her home forever). Catalani had composed that aria independently as "Chanson Groënlandaise" in 1878 and later incorporated it into his opera. It is featured prominently in Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1981 film Diva and Zalman King's film adaptation of Anaïs Nin's short story collection Delta of Venus. It also figures prominently in the soundtrack of the 2009 Tom Ford film A Single Man.
The opera also features one of the most memorable of operatic deaths, in which the heroine throws herself into an avalanche. It is seldom performed because of the difficulty of staging this scene, but its arias are sung frequently.