Il tabarro

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Poster for first production of the opera

Il tabarro (The Cloak) is an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami, based on Didier Gold's play La houppelande. It is the first of the trio of operas known as Il trittico. The first performance was given on 14 December 1918 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.[1]

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast[2]
14 December 1918
(Conductor: Roberto Moranzoni)
Michele, a barge-owner baritone Luigi Montesanto
Giorgetta, Michele's wife soprano Claudia Muzio
Luigi, a stevedore tenor Giulio Crimi
'Tinca' ('tench'), a stevedore tenor Angelo Badà
'Talpa' ('mole'), a stevedore bass Adamo Didur
La Frugola ('the rummager'), Talpa's wife mezzo-soprano Alice Gentle
Song Seller, tenor Pietro Audisio
Lover, soprano Marie Tiffany
Stevedores, midinettes, an organ-grinder, two lovers

Synopsis[edit]

Place: A barge on the Seine in Paris.
Time: 1910.

It is close to sundown in Paris, and the stevedores work unloading Michele's barge. Giorgetta, Michele's wife, asks her husband if she can bring wine to the workers. He agrees but does not join them because she refuses his kiss. The stevedores start dancing to the music of a nearby organ grinder and one of them steps on Giorgetta's foot. Luigi, a stevedore, dances with her, and it is evident that there is something between them. Upon hearing of Michele's return the stevedores' gathering breaks up.

The original 1918 costume sketch design for Michele

Work is getting scarce and Giorgetta and Michele discuss which of the stevedores should be dismissed; she prefers that it be anyone other than Luigi despite him being Michele's first choice. Soon the conversation turns into a fight. La Frugola enters, looking for Talpa, her husband and one of the stevedores. She shows everyone the fruits of her scavenging in Paris and scolds the men for their drinking. Luigi laments his lot in life, and La Frugola sings of her wish to one day buy a house in the country where she and her husband can retire. Giorgetta and Luigi sing a duet about the town where they were both born.

The stevedores depart except for Luigi, who asks Michele to dismiss him and let him off in Rouen, but Michele convinces him against this, saying there is not enough work in Rouen. When they are alone, Giorgetta asks Luigi why he requested to be dismissed; the pair acknowledge their love. They plan to meet later that evening upon the signal of a match being lit on board. By now Luigi seems determined to kill Michele and flee with Giorgetta.

Michele later reminisces with Giorgetta of the days before their child died and how he could cover the two of them under his cloak. He is distressed about being twice her age; she comforts him but she still will not kiss him, and goes off.

Michele wonders aloud if Giorgetta is still faithful to him and ponders who might have changed her so much. He reviews the list of men who have shared in their lives but dismisses each of them as improbable. Michele lights his pipe and Luigi, seeing it from afar, thinks that it is Giorgetta's signal. He returns to the barge and is confronted by Michele. In the ensuing fight, Michele gets the upper hand and forces Luigi to confess his affair before killing him and hiding the body under his cloak. Giorgetta returns to the barge, feigning remorse, and Michele opens wide the cloak to reveal her dead lover.

Arias[edit]

  • "Hai ben ragione! meglio non pensare" — Luigi
  • "Nulla! Silenzio!" — Michele
  • "Scorri, fiume eterno" — Michele. This more contemplative aria for Michele was later replaced by Puccini with the vengeful "Nulla! Silenzio!" The Leinsdorf and Gardelli recordings both include it as an addendum.

Recordings[edit]

Year Cast
(Michele, Giorgetta, Luigi)
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label[3]
1955 Tito Gobbi,
Margaret Mas,
Giacinto Prandelli
Vincenzo Bellezza,
Chorus and Orchestra of the Rome Opera House
Audio CD: EMI Classics
Cat: 5099921294921[4]
1962 Robert Merrill,
Renata Tebaldi,
Mario del Monaco
Lamberto Gardelli,
Orchestra e coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Audio CD: Decca
Cat: 000289 475 7625 9[5]
1971 Sherrill Milnes,
Leontyne Price,
Plácido Domingo
Erich Leinsdorf,
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Audio CD: RCA Victor
1977 Ingvar Wixell,
Renata Scotto,
Plácido Domingo
Lorin Maazel,
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Audio CD: Sony Classical
Cat: 88697527292[6]
1981 Cornell MacNeil,
Renata Scotto,
Vasile Moldoveanu
James Levine,
Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus
DVD Video: MET OPERA
Cat: 1000008349[7]
1994 Juan Pons,
Mirella Freni,
Giuseppe Giacomini
Bruno Bartoletti,
Orchestra e coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Audio CD: Decca
Cat: 000289 478 0341 6[8]
1994 Juan Pons,
Teresa Stratas,
Plácido Domingo
James Levine,
Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus
DVD Video: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 000440 073 4024 0[9]
1997 Carlo Guelfi,
Maria Guleghina,
Neil Shicoff
Antonio Pappano,
London Voices & London Symphony Orchestra
Audio CD: EMI Classics
Cat: 0724355658722[10]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Puccini, Giacomo; Adami, Giuseppe (2004). Il Trittico in full score. Courier Dover Publications. p. 1. ISBN 0-486-43619-5. 
  2. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Il tabarro, 14 December 1918". Almanacco Amadeus (Italian).
  3. ^ Recordings of Il tabarro on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk
  4. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Trittico". EMI Classics. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Trittico". The Decca Record Company London. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Trittico". Sony Classical. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Ttittico". Metropolitan Opera/ James Levine - Celebrating 40 Years at The Met. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Trittico". The Decca Record Company London. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Tabbaro / Pagliacci". Deutsche Grammophon. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "On-line catalogue entry Il Trittico". EMI Classics. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 

Sources

  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
  • Warrack, John and West, Ewan, The Oxford Dictionary of Opera New York: OUP: 1992 ISBN 0-19-869164-5

External links[edit]