Upbeat: Late love

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The Independent Culture
Riccardo Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini has had to wait 80 years for its second UK outing - in a concert performance by the Chelsea Opera Group tonight in the QEH. Based on Gabriele d'Annunzio's Dantesque drama, the opera tells of Francesca's doomed love affair with her tyrant husband's brother Paolo. Covent Garden gave the UK premiere in July 1914, five months after its Turin prima. So why the wait? 'It's the sort of music the British get snotty about,' says Hannah Francis, tonight's Francesca. 'You know, Hollywood Bowl stuff. But it's absolutely glorious, unbelievably romantic. This may be a concert performance, but you can't just stand there - you have to act.'