The 160th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s birth last Saturday inspired this edition of fantasy football opera. 

Your opera house will host a Puccini festival this summer, and you’ve already finished hiring the singers for nine of the composer’s other staged works. All that remains for you to do is to fill in the leads for Manon Lescaut, La Rondine and Edgar.

The Italian energy conglomerate ENI has underwritten much of the sponsorship for this festival and has essentially given you a blank check to hire the best contemporary lead singers, conductors, and directors for all of Puccini’s works.

Another condition: smaller parts need to be performed by young talent coming from Italy’s conservatories and music schools.

Remember: you have a 2,500-capacity auditorium with amazing acoustics. Your house has a world class orchestra and chorus. Your stage is equipped with all the engineering structures to support a broad range of set pieces, including a LePage style machine if needed.

Constraints? Nothing. Just have fun with the casting and try to suggest Italian artists for the secondary roles if possible.


Manon Lescaut

Manon: Carmen Giannattasio
Des Grieux: Piotr Beczala
Lescaut: Luca Salsi
Geronte: Gianluca Buratto
Edmondo: Ilker Arcayürek

Conductor: Riccardo Chailly

La Rondine 

Magda: Rosa Feola
Ruggero: Charles Castronovo
Lisette: Aida Garifullina
Prunier: Pavol Breslik
Rambaldo: George Petean

Conductor: Fabio Luisi

I’ll suggest the director for this one: David Livermore.


Edgar: Michael Fabiano
Fidelia: Lianna Haroutounian
Tigrana: Anita Rachvelishvili
Frank: Ludovic Tezier
Gualtiero: Ferruccio Furlanetto

Conductor: Antonio Pappano