Synopsis by Craig Butler
Il Trittico is the name given to three one-act Puccini operas, captured here in performance at La Scala. The first, Il Tabarro is set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, is concerned with Michele, a barge owner, and his wife Giorgetta. Michele suspects that Giorgetta is being unfaithful to him with one of the stevedores who work nearby. On the barge one night, he speaks tenderly to her of their past, begging her to help him recapture their past happiness, but she spurns him and goes inside the barge. Michele's suspicions are then confirmed when Luigi, his wife's lover, appears. Michele kills Luigi, then forces his wife to confront the dead body. The second, Suor Angelica, is set at a convent in 17th-century Italy. Sister Angelica was placed into the convent by her family seven years ago, as punishment for having a child out of wedlock. Her aunt pays a rare visit to her and coldly tells her that the child is now dead. Filled with despair, Angelica takes poison, realizing too late that by doing so she risks eternal damnation -- and eternal separation from her beloved child. She feverishly prays to the Madonna, and as the opera ends, Angelica's child appears to usher her into heaven. Gianni Schicchi is set in Florence in the late 1200s and concerns a group of greedy relatives awaiting the death of the enormously wealthy Buoso Donati. Afraid that the old man has left his fortune to a monastery, a plan is concocted whereby the cunning but lowly Gianni Schicchi will impersonate the dying man and create a new will that solidly favors the gathered relatives. Schicchi tricks the relatives and arranges for all the money to come to him instead, leaving the way free for Donati's young and honorable relative Rinuccio to marry Schicchi's daughter.
husband-and-wife, lover, suspicion, aunt, convent, despair, heaven, illegitimate-child, trick, will [document], greed, impersonation