It was while attending a performance of Fédora in Naples in 1885 that eighteen year-old Umberto Giordano fell in love with Sardou’s then immensely popular play; the protagonist was none other than Sarah Bernhardt, the creator of the title role.
He immediately asked the French dramatist to sell him the rights, a request Sardou did not even take into consideration. After the composer scored modest successes with Marina, Mala vita and Regina Diaz, Sardou seemed almost persuaded to relent, although the publisher Sonzogno considered the author’s financial demands too excessive. Only after the triumph of Andrea Chénier did Sardou and Sonzogno come to an agreement, and Giordano was finally able to devote himself to his long-awaited project. Read more »