Giacomo Puccini utilized a popular 1731 novel by Abbé Provost for his work that premiered in 1893 about love across class divides and banishment to the New World. The tale had already been set to music by Daniel Auber in 1856 and Jules Massenet in 1884 but Puccini proceeded despite warnings from his publisher.

Set in Paris, the opera celebrates its beautiful titular character and the men who swoon in her wake. When one lower class fellow captures her heart, the resulting turmoil results in their being sent to Louisiana. The last portion of the opera places the tragic lovers in the wilderness on the outskirts of the New Orleans territory. Curiously, they are in a desert and unable to find water…in one of the wettest sectors of America.

Performances at the Mobile Civic Center Theater are 8 p.m. for the Friday show and 2:30 p.m. for the Sunday matinee.

Tickets are $60, $30 and $10 for students.

For more info, call 251-432-6772 or go to www.mobileopera.org.