I suppose you shoppers for "the next opera to add to my collection" noticed all the five star ratings for this production? I add another five stars. It is one of those operas that gets played again and again. The one you would select to play for your guests who heretofore have avoided opera, always saying the cliche, " I like all kinds of music , except opera and _ _ _ " This mind set is from the fifties, when all there seemed to be were audio vinyl albums ( back when records were indeed albums of 4 records or more ). "Get with it, people; we have a new invention called television, with subtitles"...actually big improvements over old television sets now, both in clarity of picture and magnificent sound.
This is precisely what is drawing unprecedented attention to opera - which can be/shoud be one of the most sensually stimulating experiences one can have outside of the bedroom.
Puccini here deals with one of the most compelling studies in flawed human behaviour in man's history...the business of gut wrenching envy and lust and skulduggerous, years -long- scheming over who gets what in the inheritance. I personally have seen horrible examples of it in my own family more than once! I bet you have too. We can all act like goody two shoes in church on Sunday, til it comes to the inheritance, then we turn sinister !
Whole families no longer speak to each other decades after the reading of the will. For this reason I personally wish everyone was required to see this mirror of human failing, and in so doing stand some chinaman's chance of saving ourselves from ruin. The astounding thing is how it is accomplished with such soaring, triumphant music , tension building recitative, and guffawing, jaw dropping humor. A beyond superlative cast and directing was/is a great help. My hat is off to the director who so subtly choreographed the action for the entire performance without there ever being glimpsed the slightest overacting. Wonderful set, and wonderful singing. I am certain none of you will ever forget, nor will ever stop comparing Sally Mathews'portrayal of the adorable Lauretta - nor will her hauntingly beautiful "O mio bambino caro" ever leave your mind. Wow! Sung with such spine tingling beauty and great passion, without a trace of "overdone'. Magnificent!
The cast is so very superb. I wish I could go on about each one; albeit, I single out Allesandro Corbelli for now, who carried the title role in a way that NO one will ever be able to match it! Allesandro's performance has caused me to seek him out wherever I can find him in other operas. He appears in Rossini's "La Scala di Seta", the Silk Ladder , as a mere blue collar worker in the opulent mason of the romantic triangle sitcom...yet, honestly, without Allesandro, the entire show would have collapsed of its own schmaltziness. He saved that production...yet barely gets the applause at the end.
This little one act Buffo might seem a trifle and not one to take seriously as an addition to your collection; yet I assure you that you will make a serious mistake NOT to have this one. Moreover, I would wager that you would not part with it either! This is a real treasure.
Glyndbourne, whose casting has not always been stellar, nor directing for that matter.... would do well to reassemble this design and direction team/orchestra, set designer,cast, etc. This one rings the bell.