Opera Scotland

Tabarro 2016Opera North

Read more about the opera Tabarro

For their Edinburgh visit in autumn 2016, Opera North promised two programmes of twentieth century masterpieces - a double-bill of Puccini (Il tabarro and Suor Angelica) (Wednesday and Friday) alternating with Britten's Billy Budd on Thursday and Saturday.

None of these great works has ever been seen at the Edinburgh Festival. While Scottish Opera staged the Britten most memorably a quarter century ago (in a co-production with Opera North), they have never presented the Puccini dramas. Indeed, apart from a single performance by ETO of Il tabarro at the Perth Festival, we need to look back to the nineteen-fifties for professional stagings of these well-paced tragedies in Scotland.

This Opera North staging was a revival of a production first mounted in 2004, when the company devoted the whole season to a range of one-acters, under the group title 'Eight Little Greats'.  Angelica did not get an outing at that time. Of this Tabarro cast, Giselle Allen has been seen only occasionally in Scotland, and in rather different repertoire. David Butt Philip was an excellent Rodolfo in Perth last year. Ivan Inverardi was the unknown factor, an unfamiliar baritone.

The first point that needs to be made, rather forcibly, is that the audience on Friday was alarmingly small, with what felt like acres of empty seats in stalls and circle. This was more a reflection on the potential Edinburgh audience than on the company or the works. After all, Opera North now visit regularly, and Puccini, even if we have seen a lot of Bohèmes and Butterflies lately, should have been good box-office.

This production was, if anything, a slight disappointment, and not as impressive as Angelica, or Budd the following evening. The setting was a basic black box, with a large shipping container seen end on - the characters stood or sat in front of it and occasionally climbed on top. The wonderful orchestration, under the excellent control of Anthony Kraus, was left to provide the atmosphere on its own, which it did very well.

The cast had no weaknesses, with Ivan Inverardi and Giselle Allen as the dramatically-etched estranged couple. David Butt Philip has progressed well since his Rodolfo, and the shorter roles had plenty of subtle detail. It was particularly good to see Anne-Marie Owens back in a character role.

Performance Cast

Michele a barge owner, aged fifty

Ivan Inverardi

Giorgetta Michele's wife, aged twenty-five

Giselle Allen

Luigi a stevedore, aged twenty

David Butt Philip

Tinca a stevedore, aged thirty-five

Stuart Laing

Talpa a stevedore, aged fifty-five

Richard Mosley-Evans

Ballad Seller

Nicholas Watts

Frugola Talpa's wife, aged fifty

Anne-Marie Owens

First Lover

Marie Claire Breen

Second Lover

Alexander Banfield

Performance DatesTabarro 2016

Map List

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

30 Nov, 19.15 2 Dec, 19.15

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