Lincoln Center, Dec 1
The Metropolitan Opera premiered Il Trittico, Puccini‘s trilogy of one-act operas – Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi- in 1918, without the composer being able to attend because of wartime travel restrictions.The composer wanted the operas staged together, since among other things, they were modern scenarios on themes from Dante’s Inferno.
Companies resisted the challenge of three completely different sets and three casts, and complete productions are rare, but the Met’s triumphant 2007 full revival is back, in full grandeur, due in no small part to the dazzling production designs, a vibrant orchestra and inspired casting.
Clocking in at close to four hours, you can understand why companies chop this opus down, with Schicchi, the farce, most often programmed with other operas altogether. Aside from the productions’ set demands, the work is also taxing on the principal soprano when, as in this case, she sings leads in all three works.
Soprano Patricia Racette is in such glorious voice all evening, distinctive in each of these roles. As Giorgetta who has a dockside romance in Il Tabarro, singing about “my life…between the bed and the stove”, she is as earthy and the direction is as gritty as a Kazan movie. As the emotionally tortured nun in Suor Angelica, she her voices crashes in despair, when it is not otherwise imbued.
By the time she is the lovesick Lauretta singing the eternal lullaby ‘Oh mio babbino caro’ in Gianni Schicchi trying to get her father to bless her engagement, Racette owns the Met. Technically, even with some vocal evaporation in Schicchi, this is an Olympic vocal achievement. t’amo diva.