Puccini’s one-act operas Il tabarro and Gianni Schicchi could hardly be more different: one is a moody romance ending in a grotesque murder on a barge in Paris, and the other is a sparkling comedy about a family inheritance in Florence. First performed in 2011 to great critical acclaim, this double bill shows Puccini at his finest as a master of the theatre that speaks to the heart.
Il tabarro is a dark one act opera which tells the story of Giorgetta, wife of Michele, a Parisian barge owner, who fall in love with Luigi, her husband's stevedore. Tensions rise as Michele discovers his wife's infedility. Puccini's haunting masterpiece, brought to life with James Conway's critically acclaimed production, has big lyrical roles for soprano (Sarah-Jane Lewis), tenor (Luciano Botelho), and baritone (Craig Smith), is justly famous, though not often heard.
Gianni Schicchi is a brilliant Florentine comedy. The greedy family of poor, dead Buoso dry their eyes to claim his fortune; however the wily Schicchi (Andrew Slater) also has his eyes set on the inheritance. In the middle of Liam Steel’s pacy ★★★★★ production comes one of Puccini’s sweetest arias, ‘O! mio babbino caro’ (sung by ETO star Galina Averina).
Approx. running time 2 hours 10 minutes (incl. interval)
- Michael Rosewell
- James Conway (Il tabarro) and Liam Steel (Gianni Schicchi)
- Neil Irish
- Rory Beaton (2018 revival)
- Sung in Italian with English surtitles
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English Touring Opera are on the road again, and as their Puccini double-bill demonstrates, are on top form. James Conway’s direction gives the plot a seamless inexorability, and the murderous denouement is as spine-tingling as I have ever known it in this short masterpiece.
A joy from the first bars