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Pure emotion and sheer brilliance; REVIEW: Gianni Schicci (Il Trittico) Royal Opera House.

Byline: Mike Smith

* EBECCA EVANS has always displayed a gift for humour, whether as Susanna in Marriage of Figaro, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte and now here in Gianni Schicchi.

The third of the three one-act operasS that form Il Trittico, this Gianni Schicchi is the creation of director Richard Jones and in past performances has included Bryn Terfel in the title role. S

Now Evans joins Welsh bass Gwynne Howells in the cast of this witty take on the story of the money-grabbing relatives, updated to a '60s setting.

Evans makes her debut in the role of Nella, as one of the family vultures, in period clothes and hairstyle.

Howells returns to the role of Simone and again gives a straight-man type of comic portrayal of the family elder trying to claim the prize possessions.

This time Italian baritone Lucio Gallo sings the title role and he sings and acts the role with a sprightly demeanour in contrast to Terfel's original clever, earthy farmer portrayal.

Gallo also sings the role of Michele in Il Tabarro, the first of the three operas that make up Il Trittico. In total contrast this is a dark work of hard work, frustration, infidelity and murder.

Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings his wife Giorgetta who makes a fatal secret assignation with Luigi, sung by Latvian Aleksandrs Antonenko. Both give powerful performances.

Il Tabarro and the third of Il Trittico, Suor Angelica, are new productions in what is a remarkable showcase for director Richard Jones.

In this moving performance Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho sings the title role, the girl packed off to a nunnery for having an illegitimate child.

The cast includes Anglo-Welsh soprano Eizabeth Woollett singing the Nursing Sister and Eryl Royle singing the smaller role of Sister Osmina.

Such is the emotion and sheer brilliance of the performance and production I have goose pimples just remembering Jaho's magnificent performance and Puccini's soaring score in the hands of Antonio Pappano.

No wonder the running order was Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica - and then Gianni Schicchi for light relief!

* Mike Smith * For full details of performances, visit www.roh.org.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Opera review
Date:Sep 14, 2011
Words:355
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