La Wally

Few people know much about La Wally, Alfredo Catalani’s lone claim to immortality, and what they do know can be summarized thus: 1) The otherwise forgettable Wilhelminia Wiggins Fernandez sang Wally’s aria, ”Ebben Ne andro lontana,” in the movie Diva, and 2) Toscanini, a Catalani fan, named one of his daughters after the heroine. There is, however, more to La Wally. The story — of a young Tyrolean woman who defies her father, flouts convention, suffers emotionally, and (of course) meets accidental death with her lover just as happiness finally looms — ought to appeal to any fan of Italian potboilers. Puccini, with his passion for tough heroines, would have loved Wally, and Catalani, who died in 1893 at age 39, clearly enjoyed his heroine. Éva Marton, more at home in Wagner, seems too mature as the fiery mountain girl, but Alan Titus, as the bad guy, and Francisco Araiza, the good guy, give vibrant performances. B

La Wally
  • Music