Author Archives: Wayne Lee Gay

How the Destruction of Bizet’s Paris Led to His Greatest Creation

by Wayne Lee Gay

The years immediately preceding the composition of Carmen brought unprecedented disaster to France, and, especially, to Paris. Emperor Napoleon III’s ill-advised provocation of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 resulted in quick humiliation on the battlefield, followed by the emperor’s abdication and the German siege of Paris—during which, faced with starvation, the citizenry was reduced to […]

The Last of the Great Italian Operas

by Wayne Lee Gay

Audience members in Milan, Italy, attending the world premiere of Turandot on the evening of April 25, 1926, knew full well they were viewing the end of one composer’s output; Puccini had been laid to rest some seventeen months earlier with the sort of pomp and national outpouring reserved in Italy for her greatest composers. […]