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Puccini at his Verismo Best This Week on The Lyric Stage.

The Lyric Stage this Sunday (10/22 at 8 pm) features Il Tabarro, the first of Puccini's set of three one act operas, Il Trittico.

This week we have the first opera of Giacmo Puccini’s Il Tritico, Il Tabarro. Even though there is a lightness early in the opera with dancing and banter, one character’s praise for her cat, and and the innocence in a pair of young lover’s who happen by, even a musical quote from La Boheme, Tabarro’s plot is dark.

 On a barge moored in the Seine in Paris at sunset, Giorgetta suggests that Michele should offer the stevedores a drink. While he is gone, she dances with the men, most closely with Luigi; but the dancing stops as Michele returns. Michele pleads with Giorgetta for a renewal of their love, but she avoids him. Later, Michele sees her still dressed and is suspicious. He lights his pipe, unwittingly giving the safe signal agreed between Giorgetta and Luigi, who now steals aboard to be strangled by the wronged husband. Michele hides the body under his cloak, and when his wife comes to him, he opens it, to reveal the body of her lover.

Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo and Ingvar Wixell head the cast and Loren Maazel conducts the New Philharmonia Orchestra.

Puccini wanted his three operas presented together, not separately, but producers find the three separate casts and the long evening daunting, so they thought of other works with which to pair each opera. Unusual combinations have come to pass, including Gianni Schicci with Russian ballet, Suor Angelica with Pagliacci; and in the 1945-46 season at the Met, Il Tabarro was the curtain raiser for Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.