English Touring Opera: Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi
Two thirds of Puccini’s Il Trittico are better than no Trittico. And these were two splendid ones. English Touring Opera presented its revival of the 2011 production at Hackney Empire as the initial run of its spring 2018 tour.
Michael Rosewell was the conductor of a reduced size orchestra (but we never missed more volume). He did a very good work keeping different moods for each score: oppressive in Il tabarro and comical in Gianni Schicchi.
Both settings also shared the wall and a rooftop, although with different meanings.
Sarah-Jane Lewis sang Giorgetta in Il Tabarro. She is a very promising artist with a warm and rich tone and very expressive. Some technique still needs to fins its way and I’m sure she will do it.
Craig Smith as Michele brought all the needed authority to the character, making it credible and frightening. The dark and claustrophobic staging helped a lot to fear him.
Luigi is a tricky role. It demands a spinto with ardour but also freshness expected in a young man. Charne Rochford did his best and we could feel the effort.
After the dramatic opera we had an exhilarating production of Gianni Schicchi by Liam Steel. It presented a very physical acting close to panto (remarked by some characters commedia dell’arte makeup). It combined group acting (all the relatives as a character, reacting together to the action) with individual portrayal though emphasized gestures that, however, never looked excessive. That’s quite an achievement.
Andrew Slater in the title role of Gianni Schicchi was funny and perfectly portrayed as the “smart guy” by his determined movements.
Luciano Botelho was very idiomatic as Rinuccio. Beautiful light tenor voice perfectly suited for the role.
I loved how Galina Averina sang Lauretta. Her o mio babbino caro was sung with dramatic passion while keeping the trickery meaning it has in the story, supported but quite obvious acting. Probably it was very revealing to many people in the audience that though that this aria was about a death baby or something like that (hint: that is in more in the missing opera from Il Trittico).