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Giacomo & Glover

    by Mike Gibb


Drama Play Script: 'Giacomo & Glover' by Mike Gibb‘Giacomo & Glover’ is based around a fictional meeting between composer Giacomo Puccini and industrialist Thomas Glover at Puccini’s villa at Torre Del Lago in Tuscany, two days after the disastrous opening (and closing) night in 1904 at La Scala, Milan of the first production of the opera ‘Madame Butterfly’. 

This opera was adapted by Puccini and Giuseppe Giacosa from a one act play by David Belasco, which had itself been adapted from a short story by John Luther Long. Puccini regarded ‘Madame Butterfly’ as his finest work and was devastated when the first night’s audience in Milan treated it badly. 

The play opens with a visit to the villa from a mysterious stranger who is revealed as Thomas Blake Glover, a Scotsman still revered to this day as the father of modern Japan, the man who helped to over throw the last Shogun, and the co-founder of Mitsubishi. 

As the first act unfolds Puccini's resentment at the intrusion dissipates at it becomes clear that Glover was in all probability the inspiration for Lieutenant Pinkerton, 'Madame Butterfly's central male character, and as Glover reveals the events of his life that are mirrored in the opera. Certainly an episode in Glover’s life bears a remarkable resemblance to the storyline of that opera and statues of both Puccini and Madame Butterfly are to be found today in the garden of Glover’s villa in Nagasaki. 

Puccini accepts Glover's help in reworking the opera. The second act moves on several years and focuses on the lives of both men through a series of letters and flashbacks. In a poignant ending Glover once again provides his friend with inspiration (Turandot) from beyond the grave. 

As part of his research into the subject, Mike Gibb attended a new production of Madame Butterfly on the opening night of the 2014 Puccini Festival at Torre Del Lago, meeting with both Franco Moretti, the Director General of the Puccini Festival, and Simonetta Puccini, the composer’s granddaughter.

Characters (6m, 2f)

Principals (4m, 2f)
  •   Giacomo Puccini - Composer
  •   Thomas Blake Glover - Shipbuilder & Industrialist
  •   Giuseppe Giacosa - Librettist
  •   Elvira Puccini -  the composer’s wife
  •   Tomisaburo Glover - TB Glover’s son
  •   Martha Glover - TB Glover’s sister 
Support (2m)
  Two Milan Newspaper Reporters (only twelve lines between them in the opening scene)

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