• OTF – Puccini’s Trittico: Part One – Il Tabarro

    For my next three posts, I will be discussing Puccini’s set of three one-act operas Il Trittico (literally, the triptych), presenting in a series of three musings, one for each opera.

    About Il Trittico

    According to Wikipedia, Puccini first began planning a set of one-act operas around 1904, largely because of the success of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci , themselves one-act operas and staples of the verismo genre.
    Originally, he planned to write each opera to reflect one of the parts of Dante's Divine Comedy. However, he eventually based only the third of the set, Gianni Schicchi, on Dante's epic poem.

    Puccini also intended that the three should be performed as a set, however it is not uncommon that one opera is coupled with the aforementioned operas by Leoncavallo and Mascagni, or staged as a subset of the triptych.

    Common – or uncommon – themes

    It is clear that other than being penned by the same composer, there are few similarities between the operas that form the triptych. In Schicchi and today’s selection Il tabarro, the main protagonist is a lyric bass or baritone, though the middle opera Suor Angelica is an all-female cast.

    Death is present in all three operas (with two on-stage tragic death scenes, and a third death scene off-stage that precedes the action). Love is also another theme – in the form of love lost or denied in two operas, and burgeoning love in the third. And, a rarity in Puccini operas, one of the works is a comedy, while the other two are definitely tragic.

    All this to say that there is little dramatically common between the operas – though the penmanship of the maestro provides the backdrop to the action, the orchestra playing as big a role as the singing.

    Il tabarro

    (For a synopsis of this and the other tirttico operas, visit http://www.metoperafamily.org/metope...is.aspx?id=179)

    The first of the three operas is Il tabarro (literally, the cloak). It is a very sombre opera, which explores the darkest recesses of human nature, as well as the deepest recesses of dying love. Based on Didier Gold's play La houppelande, the story is set in contemporary Paris, and explores the relationship between Michele, a barge operator, and his wife Giorgetta. Their marriage has deteriorated to such a point that their relationship is one of mutual tolerance at best. Giorgetta has taken a lover, one of the deck-hands, and when Michele figures out that he is being cheated on by his wife, the story rapidly degenerates into murder and a climactic scene involving Michele’s cloak.

    This is not a story of redemption, it is played “straight” by the librettist and composer, and the stark darkness that is being portrayed is simply a play of pathetic characters facing a desperate situation. It is no wonder that, of the three operas of Il trittico, that it is the least popular and the least performed.

    Here is a discarded aria from the opera, "Scorri, fiume eterno". This more contemplative aria for Michele was later replaced by Puccini with the vengeful "Nulla! Silenzio!"

    The Performance

    For my look at Il trittico, I am proposing the staging of the complete triptych by the Teatro alla Scala on YouTube, under Gianandrea Gavazzeni from 1983. In my next article, I will discuss some other “complete” tritticos available on CD and elsewhere.

    Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
    Il tabarro (The Cloak)
    Opera in One Act, Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami, based on Didier Gold's play La houppelande.
    First of three operas that form Il Trittico (1918)


    Michele, a barge-owner - Piero Cappuccilli
    Giorgetta, Michele's wife - Sylvia Saas
    Luigi, a stevedore = Nicola Martinucci
    Coro e Orhcestra Teatro alla Scala
    Gianandrea Gavazzeni, conducting

    Italian libretto available @ http://home.earthlink.net/~markdlew/...rro/index2.htm

    November 30 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "They Left Us in 2012" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more November 30 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: OTF – Puccini’s Trittico: Part One – Il Tabarro started by itywltmt View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. itywltmt's Avatar
      itywltmt -
      Here is a concert performance:

      Michele - Juan Pons
      Luigi - Jose Cura
      Frugola - Daniela Barcellona
      Giorgetta - Stephanie Friede
      Tinca - Sergio Bertocchi
      Talpa - Mario Luperi

      Conductor - Riccardo Chailly
      Orchestra - Amsterdam Concertgebouw

    1. Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
      Soave_Fanciulla -
      Here is a good version from the Royal Opera House with Aleksandrs Antonenko, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Antonio Pappano:

free html visitor counters
hit counter

Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences