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Opera in two acts by Marco Tutino
Libretto by Fabio Ceresa and Luca Rossi
Based on the novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia.

Fully-Staged Production
Sung in Italian with English surtitles

First Performance
Royal Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, USA, 2015


Operas based on movies — more often than not themselves based on books — have become an increasing feature of the operatic landscape in recent decades. La ciociara is probably best known in the 1960 film adaptation (Two Women) starring Sophia Loren, which, as directed by Vittorio de Sica, won her an Academy Award for Best Actress and made her the first such winner for a non-English film. It followed only three years after the publication of Alberto Moravia’s novel of the same name, telling the harrowing story of a woman attempting to shield her teenage daughter from the horrors of war and in particular the weapon of rape in the aftermath of the Battle of Monte Cassino. A television adaptation also followed in the 1960s, and much more recently an operatic version was commissioned from the composer Marco Tutino by San Francisco Opera. With a cast led by Anna Caterina Antonacci, it was premiered there in June 2015.

The anti-fascist Moravia (1907-90) took refuge during World War II in the province of Frosinone, not far from his native Rome, a region the fascists named ‘Ciociara’, and his experience there found its way into the novel. The much younger Tutino, born in Milan in 1954, has written about a dozen operas, including an adaption of Sándor Márai’s Embers (Le braci). One of his earliest operas was La lupa, a verismo work designed to celebrate the centenary of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and very much in keeping with his manifesto as a founding member of the Neo-Romantico group of composers.

He has indeed described La ciociara as ‘neo verismo’, and knows of what he speaks: in parallel with his composition work, Tutino has held a series of artistic directorships including at prominent Italian opera houses, and is deeply steeped in operatic culture. He has revised the orchestration for La ciociara, meaning that Wexford will give the professional premiere of the opera’s new version.

If you require any assistance with your ticket purchase or if you have any special requirements, such as a wheelchair accessible seat, please contact our Box Office on + 353 53 912 2144, or see Accessibility information on our website.


Naama Goldman cast
Na’ama Goldman
Leonardo Caimi cast
Leonardo Caimi
Devide Cecconi Cv
Devid Cecconi
Allen’s recent appearances include Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande, Montpellier), Wozzeck (Wozzeck, Aix), Bass soloist (St Matthew Passion, Armenian National Symphony Orchestra), First Soldier (Salome, Aix), Metellus (Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Rome), Hans (Der Traumgörge, Nancy/Dijon), Robert Baker (Wonderful Town, Het Gelders Orkest).
John Buckley
Allen Boxer
Conor Prendiville cast
Pasquale Sciortino
Conor Prendiville
Carolyn Dobbin cast
Carolyn Dobbin
Helen Maree Cooper cast
Una Popolana
Helen Maree Cooper
Christian Loizou cast
Soldato 2
Christian Loizou
Meilir Jones cast
Soldato 3
Meilir Jones

Creative Team

Rosetta Cucchi cast
Rosetta Cucchi

The Plot

The opera opens in Rome in the middle of World War Two. Widowed shopkeeper Cesira shuts up her shop and then is forced against her will, to sleep with Giovanni, a dealer in black market goods. In exchange he will give Cesira passage, for her and her daughter Rosetta, to Ciociara, the mountain village of Cesira’s youth. 

However, the decision only plunges the two women’s lives further into war's criminally abusive ways, their dignity as women stripped from them by war's weapon of rape. In Ciociara, Cesira encounters townspeople suffering their own wartime privations, and is befriended by the bookish pacifist Michele, who becomes her lover. 

Giovanni, who is collaborating with the Nazis, pursues her to Ciociara, and a rape occurs when Cesira and Rosetta fall into the hands of marauding Moroccan troops. 

Rosetta, hardened by the assault, breaks with her mother, but the death of Michele signals a reconciliation — and the presumption of healing — for mother and daughter.

Watch & Listen

Discover the Repertoire

The Discover the Repertoire series is the popular introduction to the 2023 Wexford Festival Opera programme.

The commentary, written and presented by Ian Fox, includes excerpts from the main stage operas and provides background information on the composers and operas.

Listen and enhance your enjoyment of this year’s Festival.

Dates and times

Thursday 26 Oct8pm 8pm Book
Saturday 28 Oct8pm 8pm Book
Thursday 2 Nov8pm 8pm Book
Sunday 5 Nov5pm 5pm Book

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