In Two Parts
Puccini's 'Il Trittico'
as seen by Michieletto and Rustioni,
reviewed by GIUSEPPE PENNISI
Il Trittico ('The triptych') by Giacomo Puccini is one of the most difficult works to stage. (See 'Daring and Bold', 26 August 2014.) Puccini started to conceive three one-act operas immediately after writing Tosca. At that time, one-act operas were fashionable and successful. In his original inspiration, his work would have been based on Dante's Divine Comedy with the three operas dealing, respectively with Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Puccini was a slow worker. When, some ten years later, the project began to take shape, Europe was in the midst of World War I and Puccini's private life was troubled by the death of his son and of his sister, as well as by family difficulties — his wife had discovered one of his out-of-wedlock affairs. Thus, the theme of Il Trittico became death: violent homicide in Il Tabarro, tragic suicide in Suor Angelica and grotesque parody of a middle class society around the 'last will and testament' of a wealthy relative in Gianni Schicchi. Often, the three one act operas are not performed together (as originally intended) but with other works, even by composers other than Puccini.