OSCAR WILDE AND STAGE STORY
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
Nobody is quite sure when, in the course of a flamboyant life and fecund career, Oscar Wilde wrote A FLORENTINE TRAGEDY.
The lines we have were discovered by Wilde’s literary executor, Robert Ross, who pieced together loose typewritten sheets floating around in the massive corpus of Wilde’s papers after his death, thereby rescuing this razor-sharp piece about egotistical passion. The opening scene to the play was missing, leading Ross to wryly quip, “It was characteristic of the author to finish what he never began.”
After T. Sturge Moore had added a much-appreciated opening scene, the play was performed, along with Salomé, as part of a 1906 Wilde double bill performance by the Literary Theatre Society. Since then it has found a more solid footing in the world of music than the world of drama, especially in Europe: Carlo Ravasegna’s opera ‘Una Tragedia Fiorentina’, with a libretto by Ettore Moschino, was created in 1914, and in 1917 Alexander von Zemlinsky presented ‘Eine florentinische Tragödie’. Prokofiev’s ‘Maddalena’ was also inspired by this play.
A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.
A FLORENTINE TRAGEDY is a sizzling cocktail of dark passions served murderously chilled in the sparkling goblet of Wildean verse.
The current performance is based on a wholly original adaptation of the incomplete fragment, re-telling the story of how love and death share the same scarlet bond of blood.
A SELECTION OF WILDE QUOTES
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
I can resist everything except temptation.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
Life is too important to be taken seriously.
…I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world… And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom.