Saturday, September 19, 2009
I got bored with electronic music and looked around for something else to do. My Opera season did not include Puccini's Il Trittico with Patricia Racette playing all the soprano parts and the great Polish contralto Ewa Podleś as the Princess. Lucky me, it was playing Friday night, and I could get a senior rush ticket.
This was Ewa's San Francisco Opera debut. She was scheduled for Ariodante but canceled. Please come back. She is a treasure.
This is the first time I have been to an opera performance that billed two contraltos: Ewa bills herself as a contralto, but so does Meredith Arwady whom I have seen in Daphne at Santa Fe and as Pasqualita in Doctor Atomic in the Met simulcast. She has a fascinating sound. Good luck.
Magnificent in the dual roles of Michele in Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi was Paolo Gavanelli. He was both very funny and terrifying (in the appropriate places--not very funny as Michele and terrifying as Schicchi).
But it is Patricia Racette who carries the load. She must be mature but still attractive for Il Tabarro, young but troubled for Suor Angelica and childlike for Gianni Schicchi. I must say she was successful in all. It was a pleasure to see and hear her.
This was a relatively spare modern production which worked for me. It was the least sentimental Suor Angelica imaginable. The nunnery was portrayed as a children's hospital, so Suor Angelica sees one of them as she is dying.
The house that Gianni Schicchi acquires is apparently in a high rise next door to the Duomo in Florence. It's the funniest version I have seen.
The audience was very enthusiastic, with lots of shouting, especially for Patricia, Paolo and Ewa. I shouted too.