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Puccini's Il Trittico

4 hours, 10 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 17 September 2011

The Royal Opera House season begins with a production of Il Trittico, directed by Richard Jones and broadcast live. Puccini's triple bill comprises three contrasting one act operas encompassing lust, murder, faith, romance and comedy. In Il Tabarro Eva-Maria Westbroek sings Giorgetta whose affair with a deckhand provokes her husband to murder. Then we move to the world of a convent where Suor Angelica sung by Ermonela Jaho has been banished for having an illegitimate child. Both these are new productions. Finally a revival of Richard Jones' production of the farcical comedy where Gianni Schicchi, sung by Lucio Gallo, tricks a grasping family out of its inheritance.

Donald Macleod presents and is joined by Italian opera scholar, Roger Parker. Plus an interview with Elaine Padmore, the outgoing Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House.

Il Tabarro
Michele.....Lucio Gallo (Baritone)
Luigi..... Aleksandrs Antonenko (Tenor)
Tinca..... Alan Oke (Tenor)
Talpa..... Jeremy White (Bass)
Giorgetta.....Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
Venditore.....Ji-Min Park (Tenor)
Frugola..... Irina Mishura (Mezzo-soprano)

Suor Angelica
Suor Angelica..... Ermonela Jaho (Soprano)
La Zia Principessa.....Anna Larsson (Mezzo-soprano)
La Suora Zelatrice.....Elena Zilio (Mezzo-soprano)
Maestra Delle Novizie.....Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano)
Suor Genoveva.....Anna Devin (Soprano)
Nursing Sister.....Elizabeth Woollett (Soprano)
Le Cercatrici ...Gillian Webster (Soprano)

Giannia Schicchi
Gianni Schicchi...Lucio Gallo (Baritone)
Lauretta... Anna Devin (soprano)
Zita...Elena Zilio (Mezzo-soprano)
Gherardo...Alan Oke (Tenor)
Nella... Lisa-Anne Robinson (soprano)
Betto di Signa... Jeremy White (Bass)
Simone...Gwynne Howell (Bass)
Marco...Robert Poulton (Baritone)
La Ciesca...Marie Mclaughlin (Soprano)
Spinelloccio...Henry Waddington (Bass)
Pinellino... Daniel Grice (baritone)
Guccio... John Molloy (bass)

Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Conductor ..... Antonio Pappano.

  • Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta and Lucio Gallo as Michele

    Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta and Lucio Gallo as Michele

    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta and Aleksandrs Antonenko as Luigi

    Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta and Aleksandrs Antonenko as Luigi

    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Production Image from Il Tabarro

    Production Image from Il Tabarro

    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Ermonela Jaho as Sister Angelica

    Ermonela Jaho as Sister Angelica

    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Production Image from Suor Angelica

    Production Image from Suor Angelica

    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Lucio Gallo as Gianni Schicchi

    Lucio Gallo as Gianni Schicchi

    Rebecca Evans as Nella and Marie McLaughlin as La Ciesca (From left to right)
    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Francesco Demuro as Rinuccio and Ekaterina Siurina as Lauretta

    Francesco Demuro as Rinuccio and Ekaterina Siurina as Lauretta

    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Cast from Gianni Schicchi

    Cast from Gianni Schicchi

    (From Left To Right) Jeremy White as Betto Di Signa, Rebecca Evans as Nella, Alan Oke as Gherardo, Francesco Demuro as Rinuccio, Marie Mclaughlin as La Ciesca & Robert Poulton as Marco
    (c) The Royal Opera / Bill Cooper 2011

  • Il Tabarro Synopsis

    A barge by the Seine, Paris

    On his barge, Michele is watching the sun set while his young wife Giorgetta works. Giorgetta offers a glass of wine to Tinca, Talpa and Luigi, who work with Michele. Luigi asks a passing entertainer to play a waltz. He dances with Giorgetta. A song seller on the quayside offers his latest song. Talpa’s wife Frugola arrives, and chats to Giorgetta about her life as a rag-picker, and her admiration for her cat. Michele returns and the other workers discuss their lives: Tinca loves drink, Luigi is horrified by the life of barge workers, Frugola and Talpa want nothing more than a country cottage and Giorgetta yearns for the lively life of the Paris suburb where she was born. Luigi responds to Giorgetta’s enthusiasm for Paris. When Tinca, Talpa and Frugola leave, Luigi finds an excuse to remain behind with Giorgetta.

    Michele returns, and is surprised to find Luigi still there. Luigi tells Michele that he wants to stay on the barge for now, but be put ashore at Rouen. Alone again with Giorgetta, Luigi explains that he cannot bear sharing her with Michele any longer. They arrange a meeting for that night and a possible elopement; Giorgetta will light a match as a signal for Luigi to join her. Michele comes back on deck and tries to talk to Giorgetta. He recalls how happy they used to be, and how Giorgetta and their baby son would shelter under his cloak.

    Giorgetta declines to show Michele affection or to talk about their dead child. She goes inside. Now convinced that his wife is unfaithful, Michele broods over who her lover might be. He wonders if there is anything between Luigi and Giorgetta, but is puzzled over Luigi’s request to leave the barge at Rouen. Thinking hard on how he could revenge himself, Michele lights his pipe. Luigi takes this for Giorgetta’s signal and boards the boat. Michele seizes and strangles him.

    Giorgetta returns, and apologizes for her behaviour to her husband. She asks if she can shelter under his cloak once more. Michele pulls open the cloak to reveal Luigi’s corpse.

  • Suor Angelica Synopsis

    Nuns are talking together after evening worship. The Monitress and the Mistress of the Novices assign punishments to Sister Lucilla, who laughed in chapel, and to Sister Osmina, who was hiding two red roses in her habit. Sister Genovieffa sees that the evening sun has turned the water of the chapel fountain gold, and the nuns are reminded that a year has passed since the death of Sister Bianca Rosa. They discuss what they most miss from their past lives. Sister Angelica denies that she has any desires, but the others agree that this has to be untrue – she secretly longs for news of her noble family.

    A sister enters, and asks Sister Angelica to help her cure a nun who has been stung by wasps. Sister Angelica, who is skilful in making remedies, prepares a cure. Two sisters enter and distribute food. One of them mentions that she has seen a carriage approaching, and Sister Angelica becomes agitated, hoping for a visit from one of her family.

    The Abbess enters and informs Sister Angelica that she has a visitor. It is Angelica’s aunt, the Princess, who greets her niece coldly. She has come to ask Sister Angelica to sign away her share of her parents’ property to her younger sister Anna Viola, who is to be married. The Princess reminds Sister Angelica of the shame she has brought on her family and urges her to repent. Sister Angelica assures her aunt that she is penitent, but begs her for news of her child. The Princess informs Angelica that her son died of a fever two years ago. Angelica collapses. The Princess puts a document in front of her niece, then leaves with it signed.

    Angelica pours out her grief for her dead son. The other nuns assume the visit has fulfilled Sister Angelica’s only desire, and that she is blessed and now happy. Angelica has in fact decided to commit suicide. She prepares and takes poison. Immediately, she is overcome with guilt at having committed a mortal sin and prays for salvation. Voices are heard singing the praises of the Virgin Mary as Angelica dies.

  • Gianni Schicchi Synopsis

    The house of Buoso Donati

    Buoso Donati has died. His attendant family hear a rumour that his fortune has been left to monks. Simone, the eldest, is consulted. If the notary has Donati’s will it is hopeless. If the will remains in the room though, there is hope. Rinuccio finds the missing will. He says he will hand it over if his Aunt Zita will agree to his marriage to Gianni Schicchi’s daughter Lauretta. Rinuccio sends Gherardino (son of Gherardo and Nella) to fetch Schicchi and Lauretta. The will is read and the family’s worst fears are confirmed: Donati’s wealth belongs to the monks. However, the will could still be altered. According to Rinuccio only one man can help – Gianni Schicchi. The family are disgusted. Schicchi is a peasant, and his daughter could never be a Donati. Rinuccio resists: Florence is a richer city for men like Schicchi.

    Schicchi enters and quickly detects the family’s difficulties. A row develops between Schicchi and Zita, and Schicchi tries to leave. Lauretta intercedes – she will throw herself into the Arno if she can’t marry Rinuccio. Schicchi scrutinizes the will and then sends Lauretta to feed the birds. He asks the family who else might know that Buoso has died. A knock on the door interrupts the interrogation – it’s Buoso’s doctor. The doctor is delighted, and the family astonished, to hear Buoso (in reality, Schicchi) declaring his recovery. The doctor leaves and Schicchi outlines his plan: the notary can be sent for and Schicchi will himself impersonate Buoso.
    The family are overjoyed and each makes a bid for Buoso’s property. They each hope for the house, the mule and the mills at Signa. A bell tolls. Could this mean Buoso’s death is known? In the panic the family agree that Schicchi should have the final say about the disposal of Buoso’s fortune.

    Schicchi is put in disguise and gets into Buoso’s deathbed. Before the notary enters, he issues the family a warning. Anyone altering a will suffers the amputation of a hand and exile. The family is determined, however, and the notary and witnesses are ushered in. Following some formalities, the family await their reward. Schicchi, however, has made his own plans for Buoso’s money and for Lauretta and Rinuccio’s future happiness…



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