BY GIACOMO PUCCINI
LIBRETTO (IL TABARRO) BY GIUSEPPE ADAMI
LIBRETTO (GIANNI SCHICCHI) BY GIOVACCHINO FORZANO
DAVID AGLER, CONDUCTOR
NANCY HERMISTON, DIRECTOR
MEMBERS OF VANCOUVER OPERA ORCHESTRA
In 1904, Puccini first began planning what would later become his famous collection of one-act operas: Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. His plans were to write each opera as a reflection on Dante’s Divine Comedy. In the end, however, only Gianni Schicchi was based on the epic poem, with the unifying theme throughout the three operas being the concealment of death.
This production presents the first and third operas of the set: the dark and brooding, verismo opera, Il Tabarro; and the ever-popular farce, Gianni Schicchi.
Il Tabarro is a gripping one act thriller, set in 1900s Paris, where the young Giorgetta has fallen out of love with her much older husband, the barge owner Michele. She has recently found comfort in the dockworker, Luigi, an employee of her husband, and soon a love affair evolves. The two plan on running away together, however, Michele catches Luigi when he arrives to meet Giorgetta, and kills him. Michele hides the body under the big cloak which he used in happier times to envelop his wife and child. As Giorgetta prepares to leave, Michele reveals the body to his devastated wife.
Gianni Schicchi, a hilarious opera in the commedia dell’arte tradition tells the tale of the trickster Gianni Schicchi, who agrees to help a family change the will of their relative in order to include them in it. However, after accepting their bribes, the cunning Gianni Schicchi dictates a new will in which he benefits the most! With the famous aria, “O mio babbino caro,” a hilarious cast of characters, and an amusing plot, this comic masterpiece beautifully compliments the dark Il Tabarro.
Banner illustration: Roan Shankaruk