Wednesday, 28 September 2011

1, 2, 3… The Puccini triple bill at Covent Garden

When Classicalify planned this tour, one of the main reasons was the performance of Puccini’s “Il Trittico” at ROH Covent Garden. The planned cast was Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta in “Il Tabarro”, Anja Harteros as heartbreaking Angelica in “Sour Angelica”, Lucio Gallo as Michele in “Il Tabarro” and also as Gianni Schicchi. Combined with Swedish worldstar alto Anna Larsson’s debut at ROH as La Principessa in “Sour Angelica” this was about to be a once in a lifetime experience. Alas, about a month before opening night it was announced that Anja Harteros had cancelled her Angelica and was replaced by Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho (who Classicalify is waiting for to sing Violetta in Stockholm).

The production at Covent Garden is directed by Richard Jones and conducted by sweetheart Antonio Pappano. Tabarro and Angelica being new productions and Schicchi a production played before at ROH.

Pappano knows his Italian opera inside out, no question about that and no further comments. Tony is good, very good and simply the best… Of the three operas you get what you expect from Tabarro and Schicchi… but what is done to Angelica only Richard Jones, Miriam Buether (set design) and Nicky Gillibrand (costumes) know! “Sour Angelica” is set in a children’s hospital and you just wonder why?

Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta is frustrated, horny and do whatever she can to get out of her misery life at the barge and boring husband Michele (Lucio Gallo). Sorry for her, lover Luigi (Aleksandrs Antonenko) is getting killed by Michele before she gets away… Westbroek and Antonenko superb together, Lucio Gallo more withdrawn and not in his right place.

“Sour Angelica” is pain, pain, pain and tears running… you can’t just refuse or deny it, this is Puccini at his very best. Ermonela Joho sings her heart out and the Principessa bitch Anna Larsson is just as disgusting as you want her to be… What tension, what drama, what singing!!! OK, there were some other nuns on stage, but did we notice them… Naw! “Sour Angelica” is all about Angelica and her bitch aunt, the Principessa.

In “Gianni Schicchi” Lucio Gallo seems more in the right place. Now he really seems to enjoy it and he really takes the chance to be the central figure, and he does it good and he sings it good. The two young lovers, Lauretta and Rinuccio, do what they are supposed to, and so do the other singers.
But how much can you hate “O, mio babbino caro”?

Classicalify’s top list for “Il Trittico”:
1. Ermonela Jaho (Sour Angleica)
2. Eva-Maria Westbroek (Giorgetta)
3. Aleksandrs Antonenko (Luigi)
4. Anna Larsson (La Principessa)
5. Antonio Pappano (conductor)
6. Lucio Gallo (Michele, Gianni Schicchi)Elena Zilio (Monitress/Zita)

1 comment:

  1. Aye, tears were shed here for Ermonela Jaho's performance. She was superb and gave more than I can remember any performer giving. Made my night.