[Met Performance] CID:353178
Il Trittico {68}
Il Tabarro {74}
Suor Angelica {68}
Gianni Schicchi {132}
Metropolitan Opera House: 11/20/2009., Sirius and XM Broadcast live
Streamed at metopera.org

(Debut: Stefano Ranzani, Saimir Pirgu, Neel Ram Nagarajan, Joyce El-Khoury
Broadcast/Streamed
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 20, 2009 Broadcast/Streamed


IL TRITTICO {68}


IL TABARRO {74}
Puccini-Adami

Giorgetta...............Patricia Racette
Luigi...................Aleksandrs Antonenko
Michele.................Zeljko Lucic
Frugola.................Stephanie Blythe
Talpa...................Paul Plishka
Tinca...................David Cangelosi
Song Seller.............Matthew Plenk
Lover...................Tony Stevenson
Lover...................Ashley Emerson

Conductor...............Stefano Ranzani [Debut]


SUOR ANGELICA {68}
Puccini-Forzano

Angelica................Patricia Racette
Princess................Stephanie Blythe
Genovieffa..............Heidi Grant Murphy
Osmina..................Rosemary Nencheck
Dolcina.................Jennifer Check
Monitor.................Wendy White
Abbess..................Tamara Mumford
Head Mistress...........Barbara Dever
Nurse...................Maria Zifchak
Lay Sister..............Joyce El-Khoury [Debut]
Lay Sister..............Edyta Kulczak
Novice..................Monica Yunus
Novice..................Teresa S. Herold
Alms Collector..........Anne-Carolyn Bird
Alms Collector..........Reveka Evangelia Mavrovitis

Conductor...............Stefano Ranzani


GIANNI SCHICCHI {132}
Puccini-Forzano

Gianni Schicchi.........Alessandro Corbelli
Lauretta................Patricia Racette
Rinuccio................Saimir Pirgu [Debut]
Nella...................Jennifer Check
Ciesca..................Patricia Risley
Zita....................Stephanie Blythe
Gherardo................Keith Jameson
Betto...................Patrick Carfizzi
Marco...................Jeff Mattsey
Simone..................Donato Di Stefano
Gherardino..............Neel Ram Nagarajan [Debut]
Spinelloccio............Paul Plishka
Amantio.................James Courtney
Pinellino...............Donovan Singletary
Guccio..................Jeremy Galyon

Conductor...............Stefano Ranzani

Production..............Jack O'Brien
Set Designer............Douglas W. Schmidt
Costume Designer........Jess Goldstein
Lighting Designer.......Jules Fisher
Lighting Designer.......Peggy Eisenhower

Revival a gift of The Dr. M. Lee Pearce Foundation

Broadcast live on Sirius and XM Metropolitan Opera Radio
Streamed live at metopera.org

Il Trittico received seven performances this season

Production photos of Il Trittico by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Review of David Shengold in the February 2010 issue of Opera News

Jack O'Brien's pictorial, audience-friendly 2007 staging of "Il Trittico" returned to the Met on November 20 in a highly enjoyable performance that was generally well-shaped by Milanese conductor Stefano Ranzani, in his company debut. The evening was dominated, however, by the "triple threat" feat of Patricia Racette. On the heels of the same hat trick at San Francisco Opera, Racette became - after Renata Scotto and Teresa Stratas - only the third artist in the Met's history to perform all three heroines in the same evening, carrying them off commendably.

Racette's interpretive skills allowed O'Brien to take all three operas to a higher level. Her timbre is light and bright for the tougher stretches of Giorgetta, yet nothing was shirked: Racette's instrument carried well over the orchestra, and her admirable legato-based phrasing afforded both clear diction and the kind of specific verbal shading that - while seeming utterly natural - illuminated character as surely as did her wonderful command of stance and movement. The frustrated barge wife, penitent aristocratic nun and Florentine teenager all emerged as distinct, comprehensible beings, utterly credible in their starkly different contexts.

After his splendid bow in last season's "Rusalka," Aleksandrs Antonenko returned very strongly as Luigi, sturdily handsome and with the bronze vocal chops for this fearsomely orchestrated part This Latvian tenor deserves a bright Met future. Zeljko Lucic is never unpleasant to hear, but his baritone lacks the tonal focus and verbal cut-and-thrust to achieve Michele's full impact. David Cangelosi rather overdid things as the drunkard Tinca, but Matthew Plenk made a dulcet, clean-toned Song Seller.

Racette has spoken of how her inspiration to turn from jazz to classical singing was Renata Scotto's recording of "Suor Angelica." Her deeply committed performance honored Scotto's legacy while proceeding vocally and psychologically on its own (quite devastating) terms. "Senza mamma," deeply felt and phrased with keen understanding of its architecture, faltered slightly on the final high A; like Scotto, Racette had the taste and artistry to obviate applause at this juncture, adding to the finale's cumulative emotional tension. (Elsewhere, Racette nailed two dead-on optional high Cs.) "Gianni Schicchi"'s evergreen "O mio babbino caro," acted with enchanting simplicity, was good but showed a bit of (understandable) fatigue; here, part of the problem was Ranzani's questionable tempo. Still, the evening marked a major achievement for the popular soprano.

Stephanie Blythe's own triple turn was the triumph of this production's premiere season; she repeated her pronounced success with the audience. "Tabarro"'s Frugola found Blythe uncharacteristically raucous on top, but "Suor Angelica"'s Zia Principessa was truly superb - chillingly embodied, the more so for the welcome richness and velvet finish of the vocalism. She and Racette moved with commanding expressiveness, their physical interaction speaking volumes about the characters shared past; Angelica, grief-stricken, shrank from her aunt's one comforting gesture as from a threatened blow. As "Schicchi"'s Zita, Blythe boomed authoritatively, her comic antics hitting home.

O'Brien wisely toned down some of the "Sound of Music"-like blocking in the triptych's middle panel. The sisters were a sonorous bunch, with delectably pure light-soprano sounds issuing from Joyce El-Khoury (Lay Sister), Monica Yunus (Novice) and Anne-Carolyn Bird (Alms-Collector) in particular. Surely only the Met could offer principal mezzos of the caliber of Wendy White (Monitor), Barbara Dever (Mistress of Novices), Maria Zifchak (Nursing Sister) and - in particularly haunting voice - Tamara Mumford (Abbess) in Puccini's comprimaria roles. Heidi Grant Murphy's once-sunny tones have served the Met beautifully in roles such as Mozart's Servilia and Poulenc's Constance, but time has moved on: Murphy's rather calcified means lacked the needed radiance for Genovieffa.

"Gianni Schicchi" - set by O'Brien in Cinecittą-land, Anno 1959 - also garnered applause for Douglas W Schmidt's lavish set; he and O'Brien pull off a parody (I think it's a parody) homage to stage-elevator-happy Met productions, leaving us with a bracing rooftop view of an Edenic Florence. Puccini's comedy here went like wildfire. The Met has previously fielded fuller-voiced Schicchis than Alessandro Corbelli, but the baritone gave a terrific, triumphantly seedy star performance; he is one of a few remaining great Italianate stylists - a complete master of the text with a fantastic range of facial expression.

Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu, another debutant, made a tall, plausibly romantic Rinuccio. His voice projected well, but except in its secure upper reaches - on this occasion it lacked the tonal beauty it displays in YouTube clips. Perhaps, like many a Met newcomer before him, Pirgu saw the size of the house and felt compelled to crank out a bigger-than-natural sound. Ensemble work, reflecting O'Brien's comic savvy and Ranzani's attentiveness, proved excellent: there was no weak link Patricia Risley (Ciesca), Jeff Mattsey (Marco) and Keith Jameson (Gherardo) sang and acted enjoyably as the more "normal" among the scheming relatives, but the palms here went to the rich Fellinian cameos offered by Jennifer Check (Nella), Patrick Carfizzi (Betto) and the marvelously droll Donato Di Stefano (Simone), all in fine, healthy voice. Little Neel Ram Nagarajan piped Gherardino's lines to fine effect.



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