#30: I Fiori (The Flowers)

     Giuseppe Rotini (1870-1914) composed what would be his last opera, I Fiori (The Flowers), in 1912, soon after the premier in Dresden of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (1910), a work that was clearly an important precedent for the Rotini work.
     In the famous trio from Act ll—shown in the photograph—the opera’s protagonist, a disreputable poseur named Dessicato (who, true to his name, is already turning a bit brown around the edges) is flirting irresponsibly with Fastidia and Finessia, the two beautiful young wards of the Milanese Duchess who is their protector.  In this scene, the two young women are finding Dessicato’s importunities distasteful, but have been too delicately raised to acknowledge their discomfiture.
     I Fiori, which opened at Milan’s La Scala on March 21, 1912, was something or a puzzle to the opera-going public who had difficulty understanding that all of the performers were costumed entirely as gigantic flowers.  For Rotini, the opera was to have been a noble experiment in innovative staging and production.  He died two years after I Fiori’s unfortunate premier, bitter and disappointed by the opera’s failure.