Wednesday 08 April 1998
While it is true that there is more obscure Puccini (has anyone out there ever seen Le Villi?), productions of his triple-bill are not exactly up there with opera's greatest hits, La boheme and the "shabby little shocker" Tosca. Why? Well you try budgeting an evening with three casts and three sets and only one really big hit: "Il mio babbino caro" from the third opera Gianni Schicchi. (So lustrous that Kiri sang it on the soundtrack to A Room With a View.) The last time ENO presented Gianni Schicchi it was in a double-bill with Delius's justly neglected Fennimore and Gerda which has beautiful orchestral interludes and one of the silliest librettos of all time (and came in one of ENOs silliest productions featuring the hapless Sally Burgess rolling out of a grand piano). This new production which opens tonight is in the safer hands of Patrick Mason and designer Joe Vanek whose Opera North/ENO Don Pasquale was such a delight. David Benedict
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