O namenlose Freude

Katharina Thalbach sets her Fidelio, filmed at Zürich in 2008, somewhere in the early 20th century.  Most of the costuming suggests very early but Don Pizzaro’s suit suggests 20s/30s gangster.  Maybe he’s just fashion forward. The story telling is fairly straightforward and there’s no big concept.  There are a few, smallish, touches.  For example, the prisoners seem to be playing basketball with Don Pizarro’s head in the conclusion.  The sets are literal but evocatively lit and rather effective.

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Il Trittico

Puccini’s Il Trittico is a collection of three one act operas designed to be performed on a single evening.  They rarely are.  Perhaps this is because performing all three makes for a rather long evening (and for a huge cast) or maybe it’s because two of the three aren’t all that great.  In any event, while most opera goers will likely have seen the comedy Gianni Schicchi, most will likely not have seen the two tragedies that precede it; Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica.  However, all three works were performed as a triple bill at the Royal Opera House in 2011.  The show was broadcast by the BBC and is available on Blu-ray and DVD.  All three pieces were directed by Richard Jones and Anthony Pappano conducted.

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La Fanciulla del West

Fanciulla is Puccini’s American opera. It’s set during the California gold rush and it was the first opera ever to premiere in New York, one hundred years and a couple of days ago. The soprano role, Minnie, is notoriously difficult to sing and so it isn’t produced all that often.

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