* Notes *
The latest run of Il Trittico at the Met opened last night. Stefano Ranzani made a fine debut, his tempi were elastic, and for the most part the orchestra did not overwhelm the singers. Patricia Racette sang the three soprano roles, as she did recently in San Francisco. Her voice showed some strain, and the quality of her vibrato could be unpleasant. Her costume as Giorgetta was not the most becoming. Aleksandrs Antonenko was quiet as Luigi, and though menacing as Michele, Željko Lucic did not cut through the brass at the end of Il Tabarro. Stephanie Blythe was almost endearing as Frugola, her voice is strong, warm, and hefty. Her duet with Paul Plishka (Talpa) was not exactly together, and she was much louder than he.
Suor Angelica featured some lovely choral singing. Racette's acting came across as histrionic (from the back of the Family Circle, in any case), collapsing in a melodramatic pile of skirts not once but twice. Her singing could be moving, especially in the last scene. Blythe again was impressive as La Principessa, haughty and controlled.
Gianni Schicchi was perfectly amusing. Racette's "O mio babbino caro" had some shrillness, and Saimir Pirgu (Rinuccio) strained at the top of his voice. Stephanie Blythe was actually very funny as Zita, as was the rest of Buoso's family. There were only a few issues with timing. Alessandro Corbelli was hilarious as Gianni Schicchi, he is a fine actor, and his voice, though lacking weight, is perfectly suitable for this role.
The production, directed by Jack O'Brien, with sets from Douglas W. Schmidt, is the quintessence of the Metropolitan Opera style. Everything was simply a literal recreation of historical scenes, Il Tabarro was Paris in 1927, Suor Angelica Tuscany in 1938, and Gianni Schicchi 1959's Florence. Of course, this is breathtaking in its lavishness. The Seine looked like it had been brought to New York, there was a donkey that was lead across the convent courtyard, and when the set sank to reveal Lauretta and Rinuccio on the roof, it was difficult not to applaud.
* Tattling *
The usual watch alarms rang at the hour, most distractingly in Suor Angelica. The audience clapped for every set. There was some talking, and vehement hushing as well.