WORKS: Il trittico: Il tabarro; Suor Angelica; Gianni Schicchi
PERFORMER: Carlo Guelfi, Neil Shicoff, Roberto Alagna, Maria Guleghina, Enrico Fissore, Luigi Roni, José van Dam,Angela Gheorghiu, Elena Zilio, Cristina Gallardo-Domâs, Bernadette Manca di Nissa, Sara Fulgoni, Dorothea Röschmann, Felicity Palmer; London Voices, Tiff
CATALOGUE NO: CDS 5 56587 2
Puccini’s three one-act operas make for a rather long evening when performed together in the theatre, but individually each is, in its own way, gripping. The impassioned and highly charged Grand Guignol of Il tabarro is in marked contrast to the occasionally somewhat cloying sentimentality of Suor Angelica and the comical high spirits of Gianni Schicchi. What they have in common is their composer’s unerring theatrical instinct and his masterly use of the orchestra.
Antonio Pappano’s conducting of all three operas is exemplary, and all are well cast. If Carlo Guelfi does not completely dominate as the brooding Michele, the unhappy barge owner of Il tabarro, in the way that Tito Gobbi does on the 40-year-old EMI version, he is nevertheless convincing, and makes the most of ‘Nulla! Silenzio!’, Michele’s jealous outburst. Maria Guleghina is a sympathetic Giorgetta, and Elena Zilio brings a strong characterisation to La Frugola.
The all-female cast of Suor Angelica is an especially strong one, with Cristina Gallardo-Domâs an appealing Angelica, Felicity Palmer an effective Abbess, and Bernadette Manca di Nissa formidable as Angelica’s imperious aunt. Inevitably, perhaps, Gianni Schicchi makes the most immediate effect of the three operas, with José van Dam wittily compelling in the title role, and the Gheorghiu-Alagna couple in fine voice as the young lovers Lauretta and Rinuccio. (They are also lavishly cast as the two lovers who pass by on the quay in Il tabarro.) Charles Osborne