I must admit I approached this production with some trepidation, not knowing whether I'd find classic Eurotrash or a well-thought out updating of the original periods. I struck gold by all accounts.
Il tabarro hinges on four great voces, and this production has them. Lucio Gallo is a superb baritone, with the lean, mean looks of a Ramey or a Treigle. He dominates the stage whenever he appears, be it here or in the "Schicchi"--the only singer to appear twice. Westbrook and Antonenko are moving as the doomed lovers, but I want to mention the Frugola, Irina Mishura, as a powerhouse singer and actress.
Suor Angelica is cleverly staged in a children's hospital run by nuns ,highlighting the protagonist's torment. There is much fine ensemble, each minor character carefully delineated. But, of course the centerpiece is the performance of Ermonela Jaho as Suor Angelica, and her confrontation with the Princess, magnificently played by Anna Larson. Be sure to have Kleenex at hand, for it will break your heart.
And then, a total change: a "neorealistc" Italian family squabbling over inheritance money, and the clever peasant that tricks them. It was as if Richard Jones were channeling a 1940'a Italian comedy. Perfect ensemble singing and acting.
At the helm: Antonio Pappano, who joins my pantheon of great opera conductors.