Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Il Trittico

Only Jack O'Brien, a peerless director in the world of theatre, would choose such a mammoth undertaking for his Metropolitan Opera debut: staging Puccini's Il Trittico, a collection of three gorgeous one acts. And only Mr. O'Brien could have created the magic currently on display. Each opera stands on its own quite well (and they are often split apart or paired with other short operas), but the overwhelming feeling that you get watching them all together, one right after the other, cannot be replaced. O'Brien--along with adept designers Jules Fischer and Peggy Eisenhauer--create three separate worlds, all strung together by a common theme of death. Gianni Schicchi is delightfully buoyant, while Suor Angelica resonates long after the curtain falls on the image of an illuminated Virgin Mary. However, it is the show's opening piece, Il Tabarro, that is the most satisfyingly rendered; the story of jealousy and adultery on the Seine absolutely galvanizes the Met's stage. There was nary a weak link in any of the casts, but special shout-outs are in order for Stephanie Blythe, brilliantly tearing through all three mezzo roles, and Maria Guleghina, who gave her finest performance to date as the unfaithful wife in Tabarro. Brava, ladies, and I'll see you at the final performance next week.

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