Il Trittico Review – West Bay Opera Scores Again

For me, a West Bay Opera is a treat for almost any opera but especially Il Trittico, which I had the pleasure of seeing on Sunday, February 19th.  How wonderful to be lifted to another realm, away from the rain and all the fuss surrounding me in the real world.  As a winter visitor to the Bay Area, I usually enjoy the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Their performances are outstanding and often inventive and creative.  But the Civic Opera House is like the “big screen”, where the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto is intimate and I feel drawn into the action differently.

 

Krassen Karagiozov, Toni Marie Palmertree, Alonso Sicairos-León

This afternoon was outstanding, presenting three one-act operas collectively known as Il trittico by Giacomo Puccini. The trifecta of Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi originally premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. In Il tabarro, up-and-coming soprano Toni Marie Palmertree plays Giorgetta, a sailor's wife who is having a passionate affair with a longshoreman, played by Mexican tenor Alonso Sicairos Leon. The versatile Palmertree takes the title role in Suor Angelica as well, a story of religious redemption set at an Italian convent. Il trittico concludes with Gianni Schicchi, a wicked comedy about greedy relatives scheming to steal an inheritance from a dead family member.

  

Krassen Karagiozov, Toni Marie Palmertree

When the operas premiered at the Metropolitan Opera on 14 December 1918, the critical reviews for Il trittico were mixed; most critics agreed that Gianni Schicchi was the best of the three operas. Love and death play out their relationships in different places and with different characters, but, Il tabarro, Suor Angelica are so intense, that the charm and humor of Gianni Schicchi is a welcome treat.

  

Toni Marie Palmertree (left) and Susan Thieme

Sets were remarkable, costuming was perfect and the voices were beautiful and the live orchestra under the direction of Jose Luis Moscovich was wonderful. Il trittico was one of Puccini’s last works.  Beginning with Il tabarro, the audience is taken to a Paris most of us would not have seen – the waterfront. Alonso Sicairos-León makes his West Bay Opera and US opera debut in Il tabarro and Gianni Schicchi is a tenor to watch.  His performance was outstanding among the others, who were also excellent.

  

Women’s chorus

Toni Marie Palmertree, whom we first meet as the unfaithful wife, shows her versatility as Suor Angelica, a tragic figure. The convent set in Sienna rings true and the ending had many in tears, it was so moving.

 

 

Toni Marie Palmertree

 

In Gianni Schicchi, we are transported to Florence, where we look out at the beautiful city and howl at the antics of the Donati family depicted in recent time. Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai as Lauretta (Schicchi’s daughter) delivers one of the most beautiful arias in all of opera subtly takes place in the middle of this raucous tale, surprising and delightful.

  

L-R: Alonso Sicairos, Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai, Kiril Havezov

Michel Hidetoshi Mori, an award-winning American-Canadian stage director added brilliance to the production as he made his West Bay Opera debut along with Peter Crompton, the set designer and projections co-designer along with Frederic O. Boulay, Projections Designer.  The wigs and makeup under the direction of Lisa Cross, costumes by Callie Floor and lighting by Kevin August Landesman were remarkable.

  

L-R: Lazo Mihajlovich, Steve Boisvert, Melody King, (background): Anna Yelizarova, Matthew Stump, (foreground): Alonso Sicairos, Emily Sinclair, Carmello Tringali

 

I was first introduced to the West Bay Opera by Philip Hodge, who was an opera buff extraordinaire, an enthusiastic supporter of this opera company and a wonderful contributor to Splash Magazines Worldwide.  He would have loved this production.

If you hurry – two more chances - and are fortunate enough to get tickets, you, too, will love this production.

West Bay Opera tickets

 

 

L-R: Lazo Mihajlovich, Steve Boisvert, Melody King, (background): Anna Yelizarova, Matthew Stump, (foreground): Alonso Sicairos, Emily Sinclair, Carmello Tringali

All photos:Otak Jump

 

 

 

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