Although Puccini was well known as an admirer of the fair sex, this is something that his wife, Elvira, found less and less tolerable. Falling victim to the woman's jealousy was their maid, Doria Manfredi, who eventually killed herself after first being hounded with suspicions and later ejected from the Puccini household. The girl's innocence was proved at the autopsy. Fifteen years later, the composer immortalised Doria's memory in the character of the self-sacrificing servant girl in Turandot: Liù's swan song comes on the last page of Puccini's original score, which was completed after his death.
Starting in 2018, it has been the Opera's aim to both support contemporary Hungary literature and serve the cause of opera by taking inspiration from dramas that are grounded in opera history itself. After Balázs Szálinger's Siegfried Idyll, the institution has again engaged the Attila József Award-winning poet/playwright, this time to create a dramatic piece, inspired by Puccini's “Crisantemi” string quartet and melodies from Turandot, about the tragic story of the young maid.
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Puccini is in the middle of writing his opera La Fanciulla del West. For the past four years, Doria Manfredi has been working as a servant in the Puccini household, where she is treated as a member of the family. She worships the master, who, although happy to be living surrounded by his family, always seeks a new muse for each work. He has just found the model for the opera’s female protagonist in the person of Doria’s cousin Giulia. Puccini’s wife, Elvira, senses that her husband has got mixed up in a new affair, but a misunderstanding leads her to very publicly accuse Doria of betrayal. The young girl escapes by taking her own life, but Puccini makes her immortal by using her as the basis for the self-sacrificing servant Liù in Turandot. Her aria is the last bit of music that the master sets to paper before his death.