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Puccini: Il Trittico at the Met

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Brewski:
I'm watching the video broadcast tomorrow afternoon of the Met's new production, conducted by James Levine.  It's gotten some mixed comments, but never mind...I'm really looking forward to it.  And Stephanie Blythe is in all three operas, so hey, how bad can that be?  And according to The New York Times, the production is now "the most elaborate in the company's repertory."  (Sounds like they mean it's surpassed Zeffirelli's Turandot...)

Anyone else either watching in a movie theater or tuning in to the broadcast?

--Bruce

Wendell_E:
I'll be listening to the broadcast.  I heard the first two operas on opening night via the Met's webcast.  Aside from Fanciulla, the Trittico operas are my favorite Puccini, though I could live without Schicchi.  When I listen to recordings, I usually play Schicchi first and save the best for last.

New Orleans Opera's doing Il Trittico next season.  I'm looking forward to it, but wish they'd wait 'til they get back into their permanent home.  The temporary house they're using has an orchestra pit so small, they had nine players in Figaro who didn't fit into it.

Siedler:
Here are the photos of the productions I found from the Met Database:
http://66.187.153.86/Imgs/Trittico0607.htm

Larry Rinkel:
And I consider Schicchi the best of the three, with Tabarro not far behind. But Angelica seemed to me a harder, less sugary work this time than before -- though it is still marred by the sentimental "miracle" without which Puccini apparently felt the suicide scene unpalatable.

The production is generally a good one. I have seen Jack O'Brien's work in Henry IV and The Light in the Piazza, and he did not disappoint. Tabarro had gritty realism, Schicchi a fine comic ensemble, and Angelica had (unfortunately) its miracle. The use of a split scene to end Schicchi was surely excessive; they surely could have just opened a window to show the panorama of Florence, and one suspects they were just trying to show off the Met's virtuosic stage machinery. But singing was very good, and Levine's unsubtle steamroller approach is less damaging in this kind of music than in many others (such as his disastrous Brahms 3rd last season with the Met orchestra in Carnegie). But in no way could he match the sheer incisive nastiness of the best Schicchi I know on records (depite an inadequate Lauretta) - the one conducted by Alfredo Simonetto, with Giuseppe Taddei as Schicchi.

Watching this in a movie theater in Westbury, NY, one sees closer closer-ups than one would even sitting in orchestra row A. This provides a gripping experience, and when the singing and acting are as good as they were yesterday, it's more than worth the $18 for a ticket. The sound system was very vivid, too, but I cannot say it reproduced the characteristic acoustic of the opera house when heard live. I was pleased to see the place packed, too, less pleased to see few people under 75, but by Opera 3 they made up for it by plenty of chattering and whispering, and a few singalongs to accompany O mio babbino caro. (After all this is a movie theater, so you're allowed to talk. But how are these poor people going to get through Tristan next year?)

There was one major, and I mean major problem. Near the close of Tabarro, precisely as the baritone was strangling the tenor, the satellite signal was lost, and it didn't return until the bows. Did this problem originate at the Met, or was it at my local theater? In any case, if gaffes like this occur regularly, I would far rather see "encore presentations" of the operas than "live ones" from the Met.

Wendell_E:

--- Quote ---There was one major, and I mean major problem. Near the close of Tabarro, precisely as the baritone was strangling the tenor, the satellite signal was lost, and it didn't return until the bows. Did this problem originate at the Met, or was it at my local theater?
--- End quote ---

Several people at another board who attended at various theatres posted on it, and none mentioned the problem.  One wrote: "The murder was entirely believable with people gasping all through the theatre. Not nearly so much as when Michele opens his cloak to reveal Luigi's eyes still wide open in terror", so I'm guessing it was probably a local problem.  Wish I could have seen it in the theatre, but I'll be sure to catch it on PBS.

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