Oct 16, 2008

Pelly's Schicchi

Gianni Schicchi 
Music - Giaccomo Puccini
Libretto - Giovacchino Forzano
Opéra de Paris, Palais Garnier (programmed with Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole)
2004 - Mezzo Broadcast

Gianni Schicchi - Alessandro Corbelli
Lauretta - Patrizia Ciofi
Conductor - Seiji Ozawa
Director - Laurent Pelly

In a nutshell, the staging might have worked, hadn't it been for the costumes and sets (and that's even before mentionning the ultimate boredom generated by the lightning).

The libretto being obviously very simplistic doesn't provide for anything but a Labiche-like vaudeville but still. Emphasizing too much the comic elements only proves how little faith Laurent Pelly had in Puccini's music. And the huge nose, "une péninsule"[1], Schicci is disguised with is too much a distraction from this piece - the caricature is so finesse-less it's outragious to Puccini's work.

Furthermore, the fifties atmosphere Pelly chose has been seen so many times in Paris over the recent years it has become almost unbearable. This facette of Pelly - that is overwhelming in half his productions - is the reason why I won't ever consider him as a great director; consistancy is something he desperately lacks. A quick word on the cast; Corbelli's Schicci is the only outstanding performance - and Patrizia Ciofi is rather disappointing (voice and stage presence problems).

YouTube extracts:
- "O mio bambino caro", Patrizia Ciofi
- end of the opera  

[1] Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac

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