In our prosaic age, veristic operas resonate with particular force with audiences, creating special moods and emphasising affects. As in early years of the last century, when Giacomo Puccinis “Il Trittico,” a collection of three one-act operas, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on December 14, 1918, so now at the Berliner premiere at the Deutsche Oper on September 30, 2023 the three operas: “Il Tabarro” (The Cloak), “Suor Angelica” (Sister Angelica), and “Gianni Schicchi” made a profound emotional impact on the audiences.
“Il Trittico” as a whole represents a departure from the grand romantic operas that Puccini had previously composed, and can be seen as a reflection of the musical trend towards realistic opera and the exploration of more diverse and contemporary themes. Verismo opera is characterized by its focus on depicting the lives of ordinary people and addressing real-life issues, often with a gritty and naturalistic approach. “Il Trittico” demonstrates Puccini’s versatility as a composer, as he successfully combines elements of both drama and comedy within this collection, contributing to the evolution of operatic storytelling.
Tragic life constellations and everyday gloomy routine, emotional intensity, strong, complex and independent female characters received in Berliner staging incredible emotional power due to phenomenal singers performing with admirable virtuosity and sincerity, particularly impressive was the part of Suor Angelica by inspiring Mané Galoyan with her heavenly sopran, Jonathan Tetelman as Luigi in Tabarro, and Misha Kiria from Georgia as the unforgettable Gianni Sichicchi. Puccini’s meticulous orchestration and use of leitmotifs that assign musical themes to specific characters and situations establish the opera’s setting and atmosphere.
Sadly, the staging by Pınar Karabulut could match neither the incredible brilliance of the singers nor the depth of Puccini’s music. The attempt to translate the mood into grotesque and exaggeratedly trashy aesthetic devalued the force of the human tragedies that took place on the stage, making the human sorrow appear insignificant and circus-like. Excessively overdone hairstyles would not justify their function as the protagonists’ personal characteristics, looking simply odd, whereas the unappealing aspects of female physiology made the female human drama, the humiliation and abysmal destiny of a woman, as a victim of the injustices of the church and family, and her suffering appear as a distasteful and repulsive farce rather then an attempt at analysing the taboos of menstruation blood on opera stages.
Only in the final Opera, Gianni Schicchi, were the caricature costumes, settings, make-up and silhouettes fitting wittily in place, adding to the whole action an extra touch of irony and comedy. Misha Kiria starring as the cunning and manipulative Gianni Schicchi was magnificently convincing in his spectacular performance, and especially in his final appearance on stage addressing the public. For our Georgian opera fans, it is of special interest to know that Misha Kiria studied at the State Conservatory in Tbilisi and at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan. His repertoire includes roles such as Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Sivigla, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, and the title role in Falstaff. He has been invited to such renowned stages as the Teatro alla Scala, the Dutch National Opera, the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, the Bregenz Festival and others. In the 2019/20 season, he sang the role of Fra Melitone in Frank Castorf’s new production of La Forza del Destino at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, conducted by Paolo Carignani.