The show opened in the West End , with significant musical and script revisions, at the Queen's Theatre in The production ran for performances. A recording was later made of the show performed in concert, with nearly all of the original London cast recreating their roles and preserving the musical changes from the earlier production. A production at the Donmar Warehouse in London, as part of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday celebrations, opened on September 10, in previews, with the official opening September 21, running through November A special feature of this production was its orchestral arrangement for a symphonic orchestra, including a great string ensemble, harpsichord and harp, with no electronic instruments being used and modifications to the musical score being made in cooperation with the composer.
It is the first recording in German, and the first recording of the entire work with all of the musical numbers and spoken texts. Known primarily for their stagings of classical plays, Passion is the first musical that the theatre has ever produced. The run was extended through April and a two-disc cast recording was released on July 2 from PS Classics.
Rebecca Luker , who played the role of Clara in the Kennedy Center 's Sondheim Celebration production, replaced the ill Errico on this recording . Passion received its Swedish-language premiere translated by Ulricha Johnson on September 17, at the Kulturhuset Spira.
The production will have a second run at NorrlandsOperan in The musical made its regional premiere at New Line Theatre in St. In the show was performed in the Netherlands, and a Dutch language recording was released—one of the few translations of a Sondheim score. The score in this production preserved the musical revisions from the London version. The musical is usually presented in one act. An intermission was added only for the London production. In Milan in , two lovers are at the height of ecstasy "Happiness".
The handsome captain, Giorgio, breaks their reverie by telling Clara that he is being transferred to a provincial military outpost. In the next scene, Giorgio is in the mess hall at the army camp with Colonel Ricci, the unit's commanding officer, and Dr. Tambourri, its physician. Giorgio's thoughts are interrupted by a bloodcurdling scream. The Colonel tells him not to worry; it's just Fosca, his sick cousin. Giorgio offers to lend her some of his books. As he begins to adjust to the tedium of life at the outpost, the sensitive Giorgio feels increasingly out of place amongst the other men "Third Letter".
He starts becoming friendly with the Doctor, who describes Fosca as having a nervous disorder. She frequently collapses into seizures, exposing her suffering and need for connection. Fosca arrives after dinner to thank Giorgio for the books. When he suggests she keep a novel longer to meditate over it, she explains that she does not read to think or search for truth, but to live vicariously through the characters. She then goes off into a dark musing on her life "I Read". Giorgio awkwardly changes the subject, but when he observes a hearse pulling up, she is overtaken by a hysterical convulsion.
Giorgio is stunned and appalled "Transition". The following afternoon, the Colonel, the Doctor, Giorgio and Fosca go for a walk together. As they stroll through a castle's neglected garden, Giorgio politely engages her in conversation while mentally narrating a letter to Clara. When Fosca confesses that she feels no hope in her life, he tells her that "the only happiness that we can be certain of is love.
Giorgio and Clara exchange letters about Fosca. Clara urges him to avoid her whenever possible. When Giorgio is preparing to take a five-day leave, Fosca shows up unexpectedly, dissolving into hysteria and begging him to return soon. Fosca is next seen reading, stone-faced, from a letter Giorgio has sent rejecting her feelings as he and Clara make love "Trio". Upon Giorgio's return, Fosca reproaches him. She demands to know about his affair and learns that Clara is married. In a sharp exchange, they agree to sever all ties.
Weeks go by with no contact between them, but just as he is beginning to think that he is finally free of Fosca, he is informed by the Doctor that she is dying. His rejection of her love has exacerbated her illness. Giorgio, whose job as a soldier is to save lives, must go and visit her sickbed. He reluctantly agrees. He enters Fosca's chamber, and she implores him to lie beside her while she sleeps.
At daybreak, Fosca asks him for a favor before he leaves: "Write a letter for me. She is seized by another convulsive attack, and he hastens from the room. The soldiers gossip about Giorgio and Fosca while playing pool "Soldiers' Gossip". The Colonel thanks Giorgio for the kindness he has shown his cousin and explains her history. As a child, Fosca was doted on by her parents and once had illusions about her looks. When she was seventeen, the Colonel introduced her to an Austrian count named Ludovic.
Fosca was taken with him, though she had her reservations. Once they were married, Ludovic took all of her family's money. Fosca eventually discovered that he had another wife and a child. When confronted, he smoothly admitted to his deception and vanished. It was then that Fosca first became ill. After her parents died, she went to live with the Colonel, who felt responsible for her circumstances "Flashback". Meanwhile, Clara has written Giorgio a letter "Sunrise Letter" addressing her approaching age, in which she admits her fear of losing love when she is old and no longer beautiful.
Giorgio makes his way to a desolate mountain and is in the midst of reading when Fosca appears.
He picks her up and carries her back in the rain. The rain, the ordeal of getting Fosca back to camp and perhaps exposure to her contagious emotions have conspired to give Giorgio a fever. He falls into a slumber and dreams that Fosca is dragging him down into the grave "Nightmare". The Doctor sends him off to Milan on sick leave "Forty Days". As he boards the train, he is followed once again by Fosca. She apologizes for everything and promises to keep her distance for good.
Giorgio pleads with her to give him up.
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She explains that this cannot happen. Her love is not a choice, it is who she is, and she would gladly die for him "Loving You". Giorgio is finally moved by the force of her emotions. He takes her back to the outpost "Transition".
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The Doctor warns Giorgio that he must stop seeing Fosca, that she threatens his mental and physical health. Giorgio requests to forgo his leave; he feels it his duty to stay and help her as much as he can. Back in Milan, Clara questions him jealously about Fosca. Giorgio asks Clara to leave her husband and start a new life with him, but as she has a child, she cannot. During Christmas, Giorgio is told that he has been transferred back to military headquarters. Later on, he reads Clara's newest letter, in which she asks him to wait until her son is grown before planning a more serious commitment "Farewell Letter".
Giorgio finds he no longer desires the carefully arranged, convenient affair that they shared "Just Another Love Story". Having discovered the letter Fosca dictated, the Colonel accuses Giorgio of leading her on and demands a duel. The Doctor attempts to mediate the two, but Giorgio insists on seeing her again.
He realizes that he loves Fosca, for no one has ever truly loved him but her. They embrace, their passion consummated at last. The duel takes place the following morning behind the castle. Giorgio shoots at the Colonel and lets out a shrill howl eerily reminiscent of Fosca's earlier outbursts.
Months later, Giorgio is in a hospital, dazed, recovering from a nervous breakdown. He is told that Fosca died shortly after their night together; the Colonel recovered from the wound. Dreamlike, the other characters in the story reappear as Giorgio begins reading from Fosca's last letter. Gradually her voice joins his, and together they look back on their revelations "Finale". Passion was generally admired by critics for its ambition but savaged by theatregoers when it first opened. In particular, audiences were repelled by the characterization of Fosca. During previews, people would applaud whenever Fosca had a meltdown.
In one performance, someone from the balcony yelled "Die, Fosca! Stephen Sondheim believes that the musical is about how "the force of somebody's feelings for you can crack you open, and how it is the life force in a deadened world. The story struck some audiences as ridiculous. They refused to believe that anyone, much less the handsome Giorgio, could come to love someone so manipulative and relentless, not to mention physically repellent, as Fosca.
As the perennial banality would have it, they couldn't "identify" with the main characters. The violence of their reaction, however, strikes me as an example of " The lady doth protest too much.
The idea of a love that's pure, that burns with D. Lawrence 's gemlike flame, emanating from a source so gnarled and selfish, is hard to accept. Perhaps they were reacting to the realization that we are all Fosca, we are all Giorgio, we are all Clara. In analyzing the musical, Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times wrote that Passion had "a lush, romantic score that mirrors the heightened, operatic nature of the story.
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